DUBAI // While Mohammed Aamer has been busy making himself the new king of hearts among the UAE's Pakistani expatriate population, another young prodigy has been quietly celebrating his own re-emergence at international cricket's top table this week. Tim Southee was similarly highly-regarded as a teenager, and made a splash in his senior debut for New Zealand against England last year aged just 19. He took five wickets, and plundered a remarkable 77 in a mere 40 balls, in the type of innings that makes Aamer's batting look sedate.
It immediately marked him out as one to watch, but, when Daryl Tuffey and Shane Bond returned from their exile in the Indian Cricket League, he was forced to the back of the fast-bowling queue again. His return to duty in Abu Dhabi, for the first time since March, was understated but a personal triumph, and he is grateful to be back in the fold. "I have been lucky enough to experience the highs and lows of international cricket within the space of a year," said Southee, who took four wickets in his side's 2-1 Cool & Cool Cup series win over Pakistan.
"It has been disappointing not to be in the side for the last six months or so. To get back in and have another chance was something I was keen to make the most of. "I have been taking every game step by step. We are getting there and there is still a lot of work to be done, but I am keen to make the most of every opportunity I get." Daniel Vettori, New Zealand's captain, was proud of the fact his side managed to claim an away win against Pakistan, and singled out Southee for special praise. "We still have quite a lot of young and inexperienced players in there, and some guys have really stepped up. Tim Southee was outstanding for a guy who has only played 24 one-day matches. They'll take confidence from it and hopefully take that into the Twenty20s." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org