x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Vettori confident in bowling attack

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is confident his bowling attack has the pace to match Pakistan's firepower

With Shane Bond back in the team and firing on all cylinders, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is confident his bowling attack has the pace to match Pakistan's firepower in the forthcoming series. Bond returned to international cricket in June after spending more than a year away following his defection to the unofficial Indian Cricket League. He was included in the New Zealand team for the tour of Sri Lanka and played a leading role later as the Black Caps reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa last month, including a 3-21 against England. Kyle Mills and Ian Butler also had a good Champions Trophy, and the pace trio shared 20 wickets between them, six of which came in the five-wicket semi-final win over Pakistan. Vettori is hoping his pace attack can repeat that performance when the series against Pakistan gets underway on tomorrow (Tuesday) with the first of the three One-day Internationals in Abu Dhabi before moving to Dubai for the two Twenty20 Internationals. "Our pace attack won us the game against Pakistan in South Africa," said Vettori. "So I believe we match them in that department. The likes of Bond, Mills and Butler did a fantastic job. They're all here and I have expectations on them to do similar. "But I think Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamer and Naved-ul-Hasan are quality players, particularly Aamer. He has really impressed the guys. For such a young guy, he runs in and bowls with some pace and he doesn't give up. He's a real quality prospect for Pakistan for a number of years." Vettori was particularly pleased with the return of Bond, who had been New Zealand's pace spearhead and one of the leading fast bowlers of world cricket before his defection. "As captain of the side, it makes a difference for me to have him around because he is a quality player, a guy who you can throw a ball to at any time," said Vettori. "He is a strike bowler and that's something we've probably struggled with in our bowling attack. Mills and myself have done a good job, but when you really need someone to take a wicket I think Bond is the guy I look to. He has made a difference to the psyche of the team as well." In a career spanning eight years, Bond has taken 228 wickets. Those numbers would have been much greater if not for frequent injury breakdowns. The 34-year-old has played just 17 Test matches and 74 One-day Internationals since making his debut against Australia in 2001. Vettori knows he will have to handle the returning paceman with care, but admits it is difficult to ask him to rest. "Shane believes that every game is important," said the Kiwi captain. "It's hard to take a game away from him, to try to rest him. "So I think the biggest thing for him is just getting through games. I think he has proven that he is still a quality international performer and he can still be a star on the stage. "The big thing for him is just to know he can get through games. He wants to play Test cricket and that's exciting for us. But it still brings a bit of trepidation about him being able to get through that."

Arizvi@thenational/ae