x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vettori is the ultimate team man for Kiwis

It is lucky Daniel Vettori is man who seems to thrive on responsibility.

DUBAI // It is lucky Daniel Vettori is man who seems to thrive on responsibility. He is the best player in the New Zealand cricket team, carries the dual workload of being their top all-rounder and shoulders the responsibility of helping select and captain the side.

To add to all those tasks, he will be the man the Kiwis turn to more than ever during their forthcoming limited-overs series against Pakistan. The team do not have a head coach. But Vettori, 30, is not complaining about the onus that is being put on him and instead sees it as an opportunity to give something back to New Zealand cricket. "I wouldn't say I am coach," he said in Dubai yesterday. "I think that's probably been misreported. We've got a couple of assistant coaches in the team who've worked with us and they will take over the majority of that work.

"Obviously there's a lot of work for me, but I suppose it comes from the perspective that I don't want to be captain of the team for a long period of time. "Whatever I can give to them in this short time frame, where we don't have a coach, I think will make a difference. I enjoy the responsibility and so far my performance hasn't suffered. Hopefully that remains the same." Vettori was given extra responsibility after Andy Moles stepped down as the coach last week after complaints by some key players that he was not cut out for the job tactically. The controversy has been raging through New Zealand cricket since, with new leaks and revelations in the media every day.

Vettori, however, is confident it will not be a distraction for the players when they play Pakistan in three one-day internationals in Abu Dhabi and two Twenty20s in Dubai, before heading to New Zealand for a three-Test series. "It's obviously an interesting time for us," said the left-arm spinner. "This team is pretty resilient and I think they understand the situation. They understand they just need to get on with things.

"That's the mindset we've got to take on. We know there are some important games here to win and no one will accept anything but winning. So we need to put that aside and just make sure we are here to play cricket." The Black Caps are coming to the UAE on a high after reaching the final of the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this month in South Africa, where they beat Pakistan in the semi-finals. Vettori is confident that win will give the Kiwis an edge when the series starts in the capital on November 3.

"Reaching the Champions Trophy final has been a huge boost," he said. "We had a pretty tough tour of Sri Lanka. Then to come into the Champions Trophy and lose the first game and play pretty well from then on, I think it has given a lot of confidence. "And probably the semi-final win as well against Pakistan has given the team a good feeling and we go into the series confident. But I think we still know it's going to be an incredibly difficult series. Pakistan are a good side and have some very good players.

"So if we want to win, we will have to play well." This is Vettori's first visit to the UAE and he likes what he has seen so far. "I think the facilities here are very impressive," he said. "The conditions are quite like the sub-continent, but it's an amazing stadium [at Dubai Sport City]. "So I think whenever you come to grounds like this, you get excited about playing on them. Just from a general first impression, the guys are really looking forward to playing here. And I know Abu Dhabi is the same."

@Email:arizvi@thenational.ae