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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vettori in doubt for Black Caps' Pakistan series

Things don't get any better for the beleaguered Black Caps with captain Daniel Vettori likely to be sidelined for the Twenty20 series against Pakistan this month.
The New Zealand team arrived home last night after being swept 5-0 by India at the weekend which extended their losing streak to 11 – the second worst on record.
Vettori has indicated he is battling a shoulder complaint which flared in the test series where the left-arm spinner literally shouldered a heavy workload delivering more than 200 overs.
That forced him out of the first one-dayer against India and had troubled him off and on during the rest of the tour.
It is likely that Vettori will sit out the three-match T20 series on December 26, 28 and 30 in a bid to regain full fitness for the matches that follow – most notably the five game one-day series before New Zealand returns to the subcontinent for the World Cup in February and March.
Vettori said he needed a break to freshen up before pushing on for the Pakistan series ahead of the World Cup. Deputy Ross Taylor will take the reins when Vettori is sidelined.
Vettori has offered to relinquish the leadership if it was believed that would bring a change in the team's fortunes.
A tour debrief will be held this week with New Zealand Cricket where the team's dramatic one-day form slump will be scrutinised with team management.
However, it appears unlikely Vettori would lose the captaincy with that likely to create more problems and instability in a side already low on confidence.
Vettori showed his captaincy skills were undimmed when he tried the innovative move of opening with two spin bowlers, himself and Nathan McCullum, in the final one-day game against India at Chennai and the tactic brought initial success although the Black Caps paltry tally of 103 was basically undefendable.
About the only bright light to emerge from the series was the form of James Franklin in the middle order who appears to have cemented a place in the World Cup team through his batting deeds.
Franklin made the most of the chances he received in India to break back into the New Zealand side with scores of 72, 98 and 17 – all not out – in the final three matches.
Another small ray of light came with the performance at home yesterday of Central Districts all-rounder Kieran Noema-Barnett who smashed a domestic record half century from just 14 balls in a domestic T20 match against Otago at Invercargill.
"Barney", as he is known, blasted an unbeaten 57 from 18 balls with seven sumptuous sixes and three fours and should give the national selectors food for thought ahead of picking their T20 side.
Noema-Barnett bears a resemblance to fellow burly left-hander Jesse Ryder also being a hard-hitting left-hander who bowls some handy right-arm medium pacers.
Perhaps the Black Caps cupboard is not completely bare.
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