Daniel Vettori, Middlesex T20 role unexpected but very welcome

AUDIO: Former New Zealand captain and left-arm spinner, Daniel Vettori, talks Middlesex and the success of spinners in T20.

Vettori agreed a three-year deal in December to become Middlesex head coach for T20 Blast matches. It was unexpected but a role he is relishing.

The 37-year-old Kiwi adds Middlesex to his list of current employers that also includes Brisbane Heat in Australia’s Big Bash League and Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore.

  • Listen to Cricket Badger’s interview with Daniel Vettori at the bottom of this article.
  • This is the second of three parts of our Vettori interview – in part three we  look ahead to the IPL, at RCB’s chances of going one better than 2016 and who their biggest rivals are.

All the talk of franchise cricket in the UK and it not beginning until 2020 led Vettori to believe that he would have to wait three years before even considering a county role.

But Middlesex are not prepared to wait, their managing director of cricket, Angus Fraser, saying: “Daniel will strengthen what is already an outstanding coaching unit.”

Vettori brings a huge CV of experience after playing 34 T20Is in addition to 113 Test, 295 ODIs and six years as a player in the IPL. He didn’t need asking twice.

“I suppose I didn’t really envisage the opportunity in the English set up,” Vettori exclusively told cricketbadger.com. “I thought that maybe a franchise system and most counties have coaches locked and loaded so I’m very fortunate that Middlesex squad have been open to the idea.

“The organisation are looking to try and do something a little bit different and probably the schedule, more than anything, allows a T20 specialist to come in and have a schedule that allows the team to focus simply on T20 cricket. So that’s a new thing to English cricket, but I think it’s a pretty exciting thing.”

County Champions Middlesex have only qualified from the group stage of England’s domestic T20 competition on three occasions since the tournament was first played in 2003, going on to win the trophy once in 2008. They fell in the quarter-finals last summer.

Middlesex join Derbyshire in employing a specialist T20 coach. As Fraser said: “Cricket is becoming ever more specialised. The skills required by players in the different forms of the game are wide-ranging – why should coaching be any different? As a club we are always looking to improve.”

It’s a forward thinking step by Middlesex which will see Vettori working alongside Middlesex head coach Richard Scott and assistant coaches Richard Johnson and David Houghton.

“I think Middlesex are in a strong position in that they’ve been so successful in four-day cricket and listening to them talk they want to place an emphasis on the T20 stuff and so from a position of strength are able to make this decision and I was very fortunate that I was the one that they chose,” said the Kiwi, who will take charge of the club’s T20 strategy and preparation.

Cricket Badger caught up with Vettori in Abu Dhabi where he spent a few days with Middlesex en route to IPL duties in Bangalore. Was it enough time to make a judgement of the players he has at his disposal?

“I think I knew a lot of them anyway,” he answered. “I knew coming into the role that it was a really strong squad. That was one of the reason that I wanted to do it because you are working with some exceptional players and some guys who excite me.

“The spinners are always the guys that I gravitate towards so there’s Ravi Patel, Ollie Raynor is not here, and I think Dawid Malan can be a force with his leg-spin as well, so little things like that make me gravitate towards the role but also the fact that it is a very good team.”

It was assumed in 2003, in the early days of T20, that the spinners would take a caning, but the reverse has been true.

“I think the thing about that is there is no second guessing yourself,” Vettori suggested. “You know a batsman is going to be aggressive towards you and so in Test matches and one-dayers you are always trying to be ahead of the game and always working out what a batsman is doing. You don’t have to worry about that in T20.

“You know they are going to be attacking and you just have to find a way of stopping them. Whether you take the aggressive route to do that or take the defensive route you’re always just finding ways of doing it and I think that’s why spinners have been more successful that most bowlers.”

LISTEN TO CRICKET BADGER’s INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL VETTORI…

This is the second of three parts of our Vettori interview – in part three we  look ahead to the IPL, at RCB’s chances of going one better than 2016 and who their biggest rivals are.

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

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