New Zealand, as one would fondly remember, has always been known in the international cricketing circuit for producing pacers with the ability to produce scintillating swing off the surface. So, it was only curious when Martin Crowe, the then Kiwi captain decide to open his bowling with a spinner. It proved to be a masterstroke and since then, a majority of teams have used this tactic well in limited overs cricket. However, it was not until the emergence of left handed spinner Daniel Vettori that they could truly boast of a spinner who could make a mark at the highest level.
The charm of Daniel Vettori
Having started his career as a bowling all rounder, Daniel Vettori was known for his accuracy, guile, and flight rather than other contemporary spinners who were known for their prodigious turn. If Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan spun a web, a certain somebody like Daniel Vettori could frustrate the batsmen into gifting their wicket away.
Having achieved some remarkable feats and numbers, there is something discomforting about the fact that the limelight was never on him. Being only the 8th cricketer at the international level to score 3000 runs and take 300 wickets in test cricket, he easily deserves a mention in the elite list of cricketers to have come out of New Zealand.
For someone with achievements aplenty, here is a compilation of some of his heroics that statistics could not register.
Daniel Vettori could walk in to bat when his team is reeling at a score of 27 for the loss of 5, score a hundred and react like just another day at the office. He could look like the gentleman with a white hat, and yet, refuse to shake hands with Paul Collingwood and co. after a win. He could make Shane Watson who thrashed 15 sixes in an ODI where Bangladesh played 3 spinners still dance to his tunes. He could bowl two similar deliveries with an identical action, one at 109 kmph and another at 62.8 kmph. He could take an absolute screamer at 36 and turn a game on its head when Gayle and Samuels were looking dangerous. Twenty more overs of them and the 2015 World Cup Quarter Finals could have had a different ending.
Daniel Vettori will never be able to walk into any all time great XI. Maybe, he might end up as 12th man in your list. But he will definitely be an integral part of a New Zealand’s all time XI. And he will happily hold one end up when Shane Bond goes berserk from the other.
In a star studded line-up at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, he is that one calming force who doesn’t let the team get complacent. Daniel Vettori was like the typical Indian middle class breadwinner who never got his due or recognition.
For all that he has achieved and may still do, Sportwalk wishes a Happy 38th Birthday to Daniel Luca Vettori.
Featured image was drawn by Varun Rao
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