NORTHERN DISTRICTS Team of the Week: Daniel Vettori set for significant role as Tim Southee earns major praise

Here at World Cricket Badger, we are introducing a Team of the Week feature where we look in depth into a state, county or franchise. We will be working our way around the globe. This week we move to New Zealand’s North Island to catch up with the Northern Districts ahead of the 2013/14 summer.

Northern Districts anticipate being boosted by the prolonged availability of spin star Daniel Vettori this summer. Former New Zealand captain Vettori has not played any cricket since June 16 having had surgery on a troublesome Achilles tendon injury four days later.

Northern Districts

Northern Districts Twenty20 shirt. Photo Credit: Cricket Badger

The 34-year-old left-arm spinner, the proud owner of 681 wickets in all forms of international cricket, has turned down contracts with both the BlackCaps and the Knights, with many people immediately casting doubt on his playing future as a result.

But, according to Knights coach James Pamment, Vettori has still got plenty of wickets left to take both for the Seddon Park outfit and for his country as well.

Pamment told World Cricket Badger: “Dan’s had a serious Achilles operation, and he’s turned down a contract with New Zealand Cricket. He didn’t want to take one of our domestic contracts either purely because he wants to rehabilitate himself without the pressure of being paid money or being expected to play at certain times.

“He wants to manage his rehabilitation on his own basis. The communication I’ve had with Dan, and he’s a pretty straight up guy, is that he wants to be available for all cricket for Northern Districts apart from the little window he’s got set aside to go and play in the Australian Big Bash League with Brisbane. We’re really excited about that prospect.

“If he plays well for us, New Zealand will come knocking without doubt. He doesn’t need to be a contracted player to play for New Zealand, he just needs to prove his fitness and that his performance warrants selection.”

Auckland-born Vettori has only ever played 18 first-class matches for the Knights, the first being in 1997. He did not play a match for them for five years between 2006 and 2011. In all, he has taken 58 wickets and scored 632 runs.

Meanwhile, Pamment has heaped praise on another New Zealand star bedeviled by injury problems, Tim Southee.

The swing bowler, who is also handy with the bat, had ankle surgery in July and was subsequently omitted from the BlackCaps Test squad for their ongoing tour of Bangladesh. He is due to return for the limited overs matches at the end of the month.

And Pamment said of the 24-year-old Knights man: “He’s a skillful young man is Tim. He’s got all the tools and a sharp cricket brain. We believe he can transform himself into a world-class all-rounder, not just a great swing bowler.

“He’s got skills with the bat as well. Perhaps he hasn’t worked out a mental process that allows him to bat for long periods, but when he does he will really push himself towards the all-rounder stakes. He’s a great guy to have around. He played a few games for us last year, and he dominated. We thoroughly enjoy having him.”

We will have more from Seddon Park throughout the rest of the week.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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