Playing on the dusty, surly and spin-friendly surfaces of India is a tough challenge any team could face, but doing it without your frontline spinner increases that challenge significantly. In a few days’ time New Zealand will confront the same situation when they take on India in the first of two Test matches without the services of their former captain and highest wicket-taker, Daniel Vettori.
What Vettori has done for New Zealand, no other player has managed to do for them – donning the Black Cap the most number of times in Tests (112), and picking up the most number of dismissals (360). The 33-year-old has remained the lynchpin of the New Zealand bowling attack over the years. His left-arm spin, together with his guile and craftiness, has brought him success against every opposition. And not to forget his dogged batting, which has remained a thorn in the opposition’s flesh for quite some time now.
And although his bowling record - both home and away - against India hasn’t been that great, he would have been Ross Taylor’s first pick on the flight to India, especially after the drubbing they have received recently at the hands of West Indies.
One would expect Vettori to be amongst the wickets most of the times on spin-friendly Indian tracks, but like some other great spinners who have had torrid time in dealing with the slow nature of the surfaces here, Vettori hasn't been up to the mark whenever he
08:30 PM, Jun 17, 2008