Daunting debut for Vettori

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Daniel Vettori will soon become this country's 26th test cricket captain when he leads the Black Caps next week on a daunting assignment to South Africa, seeking to lift the team's lowly world ranking from seventh.

Why can't New Zealand seem to win a series against South Africa?

They are a handy side and they protect their home environment. They almost rise to that challenge they don't want to be the team that gives up to us.

They've got a very good bowling attack. Their fast guys bowl a lot of short-pitched stuff and ask a lot of questions. They also have a batting attack that's quite aggressive.

But we understand the conditions and we've got a team that should be able to go over and win games.

But in a two-test series won't that be tough?


Yes, there's not much room for leeway. South Africa is one of those teams the New Zealand sporting public like watching us play and if you are 1-all you'd be disappointed not to have a decider but that's the scenario.

South Africa will be match hardened from a series against Pakistan.

I suppose we are lucky we have 18 days there with two warm-up games against South Africa A. They will be good as they play pretty hard trying to get into the top side. It's not the same level of preparation as playing a hard test series but that's what we've got.

Any problems with playing both tests at altitude (Johannesburg and Centurion)? The sixes hit off me get a little bit bigger. No, I never hear guys say it's tough at altitude or easy.

How are you feeling approaching this first concentrated period of captaincy?

It's something new to the team, the group and me. Stephen's been the captain for such an extended period of time and has a massive amount of respect within the group. It's always going to be difficult following someone like him.

But so far in the Twenty20 tournament the group got an understanding of where I'm coming from and what I'm trying to do with the side. There's always going to be transitional period but it should not be too difficult.

What type of captain are you compared to Stephen?

I'm a bowler so instantly there is a different dynamic. People always ask how you are going to be different and I really don't know but I will be different simply because I'm a different personality. As time evolves I will develop a sense of my style that's inherently me.

You haven't done much captaincy before at first-class level, have you?

No, just a handful of games. The biggest thing for me is I've always wanted to captain the side and I need to find out that I can do it. I think I can. I'm going to captain a test side with little experience in leading at first-class level but a lot of experience at playing the game. Hopefully that wealth of knowledge accumulated over 10 or 11 years of test playing cricket will stand me in good stead.

How do you cope as a bowling captain given that most skippers are batsmen these days?

A lot of it is your own internal feelings but I'm always going to "go to guys" who have as much knowledge or more. It's a constant thought process: Is this the right time? Am I doing the right thing? And I can consult with Stephen.

The guys in the team come to me. I found that in the Twenty20 the senior players were coming to me with their thoughts and the junior players too.

What were your feelings when you received the test captaincy?

I guess it was not a real surprise having been vice-captain for a long time and taken over when Stephen was not around. But it was one of the best pieces of news I had heard.

There was a small sense of expectation, I guess.

Aren't you worried having Stephen looking over your shoulder?

I don't see having Flem there as a problem. I can understand people's concerns about that but I think Stephen's alleviated those about what he wants to get out of the game now. He wants to score runs, lead the batting side and be a huge asset to me for the one or two years while his playing is as good as it can be. That's exciting for me to hear that.

How long would you like to be in charge?

I'm 28 now. You always think of things in cycles but I'd love to do the job for an extended period of time and re-evaluate as things come up.

There's been a lot of distractions swirling around the game of late like the rebel Indian league and approaches here and there. How do you cope with that?

You have to take notice of it as it was almost the biggest focal point in cricket for a while there, all the speculation about people going to different leagues.

It consumes a bit of time but once you know your team going away you concentrate on that. If you don't you can get eaten up by constant worry or speculation about players coming or going.

Do you have a distinctive leadership manner?

I've been asked that a few times and you are probably better to ask others how they perceive me. I want to lead with my performance.

My runs and wickets will make a huge difference to how I captain the side. It's a great position to lead from being one of the best players in the side.

I've heard Ricky Ponting and Flem talk about it that you have to take care of your own game. Ponting averages over 80 as captain.

He becomes a good captain purely from his weight of runs.

The Press