Southee 'a natural', says Vettori

Last updated 00:35 22/03/2008

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It seems fitting that Daniel Vettori, who was New Zealand's youngest test cricketer, will pass on the baton to the next teenager to play for the Black Caps.

Tim Southee will become the seventh-youngest, at 19 years 102 days, to take the field for New Zealand when he steps onto McLean Park today in the series decider against England.

According to Vettori, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday when he was first picked to play for New Zealand 11 years ago, also against England, age is irrelevant to whether Southee should play.

"It all comes down to the person and how they can do the job," said Vettori of Southee, who like his captain is from Northern Districts.

"He's got a good head on him and is a mature, calm guy. I think we will see he will be a huge asset in the years to come.

"He's a bit of a natural," said Vettori.

"Things like bowling a yorker on command and dismissing Kevin Pietersen leg before (for 3) in the Twenty20," he said.

"Nothing fazes him and I think he will put in a good performance even if it is a hard wicket to bowl on."

The strapping Southee, who was born in Whangarei, made his first-class debut last season playing five State Championship matches and taking 16 wickets at a respectable 33.43.

He continued to make an impact before Christmas this season and was included in the New Zealand team for the two Twenty20 matches against England before playing for the baby Black Caps at the world under-19 tournament in Malaysia.

Southee was the player of the tournament, taking 17 wickets in the humid conditions at just 6.64.

TOP 10 YOUNG NZ PLAYERS

Daniel Vettori: 18 years 10 days v England at Wellington, 1996-97.
Douglas Freeman: 18 years 197 days v England at Christchurch, 1932-33.
Giff Vivian: 18 years 295 days v England at The Oval, 1931.
Richard Collinge: 18 years 295 days v Pakistan at Wellington, 1964-65.
Brendon Bracewell: 18 years 316 days v England at The Oval, 1978.
Graham Vivian: 19 years 5 days v India at Calcutta, 1964-65.
Tim Southee: 19 years 102 days v England at Napier, 2007-08.
John Beck: 19 years 145 days v South Africa at Johannesburg, 1953-54.
Ken Rutherford: 19 years 194 days v West Indies at Port of Spain, 1984-85.
Martin Crowe: 19 years 157 days v Australia at Wellington, 1981-82. 

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- The Press

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