Vettori out of India series, playing future clouds

ALL OVER? Daniel Vettori has been appointed the head coach of IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, raising doubts about his future with the Black Caps.
ALL OVER? Daniel Vettori has been appointed the head coach of IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, raising doubts about his future with the Black Caps.

Daniel Vettori won't be considered for the India series and his international cricket career remains under an injury-darkened cloud.

New Zealand's premier spin bowler is struggling through his Twenty20 Big Bash contract in Australia with a worsening back injury that required three painkilling injections in recent days.

He faces a crunch meeting with New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum at the end of this month to discuss his international future. After an encouraging comeback from Achilles surgery this season, things aren't looking so rosy in terms of Vettori donning the black cap again, and he is understood to be seriously considering his international future.

"I've spoken to Dan and he wants to come back from Australia and see how his body is, then have a good catch up with Brendon and I and chat about his future," Hesson said yesterday.

The coach confirmed Vettori would not be considered for the ODI squad to face India, to be named on Wednesday, or the two tests that follow.

Vettori's commitments with Brisbane Heat end on January 23 and the Big Bash playoffs, if they make it, don't begin till early February.

Turning 35 this month, Vettori looked pained in his latest match on Wednesday. Heat coach Stuart Law quipped during television coverage that Vettori injured his back while lifting his young child.

Contacted yesterday, Vettori did not want to comment until after his meeting with Hesson and McCullum.

The announcement that Vettori had signed as coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League in April added further intrigue to his playing career. How this new role fits in with potential international commitments, and his failing body, will be discussed with Hesson and McCullum.

The coach and captain would welcome Vettori back in a heartbeat, as they did at the Champions Trophy in June when he bowled superbly on one leg before his successful surgery. For Brisbane he's bowled well despite the back problem, taking five wickets at 24.60 and excellent economy rate of 6.15.

Vettori's long-stated goal was to bow out at next year's World Cup in New Zealand so there's no need for a hasty decision, 13 months out. He isn't contracted to NZC but remains a trump card for the Black Caps in limited overs cricket and could be nursed through minimal international commitments till then.

But it seems the latest in a long line of injuries has Vettori thinking hard about retirement, particularly as he enters a new coaching role and plans for life after cricket.

At Bangalore, Vettori will reunite with bowling coach Allan Donald and batting/fielding coach Trent Woodhill, who were all together at the 2011 World Cup. Vettori becomes the third New Zealander as an IPL head coach, after John Wright (Mumbai) and Stephen Fleming (Chennai).

The Dominion Post