Vettori poised to replace injured Martin
Bruce Martin has been ruled out of the second Investec Test at Headingley and former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has been placed on standby to replace his fellow spinner.
Martin, who will leave the tour, picked up a calf injury in the first Test at Lord’s, which England won by 170 runs yesterday. He bowled 13 overs on Saturday but did not take the field yesterday until required to bat.
Vettori has not been added to the tourists’ Test squad but is due to arrive in England tomorrow for the NatWest Series and the Champions Trophy. He will replace Martin at Leeds for the last Test, which starts on Friday, if the tourists opt to play a specialist spinner.
The 34-year-old, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury, won the most recent of his 112 Test caps in July last year and has recently been at the Indian Premier League, although he did not feature for his team Royal Challengers Bangalore this year.
A New Zealand spokesman today said: "At this stage, we are not bringing anyone into the Test squad. But the ODI players are arriving over the next couple of days and Daniel will be here tomorrow.
"(Coach) Mike (Hesson) will have a look at the conditions in Headingley and has the option of bringing Daniel in if he thinks a spinner will be needed there."
Speaking after yesterday’s loss, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum revealed Vettori was in contention to replace Martin.
"(He is) another option in the mix,” McCullum said. “I know that the one-day players are on the way over and Dan will obviously be a part of that, so he certainly comes into the mix.
“Jeetan Patel is bowling well for Warwickshire as well so he's in the mix if Bruce is ruled out, which is looking likely I'm guessing. Also the four-seamer option is something we need to consider too, if the conditions are suited to it. We'll work everything out closer to the time.”
The tourists have a doubt over wicketkeeper BJ Watling who fell on his left knee, diving in a failed attempt to run out Joe Root, on Saturday but an x-ray that night revealed there was no fracture.
McCullum himself took the gloves following Watling’s injury, but there are alternatives to the skipper returning to his former wicketkeeper-batsman role.
One is 21-year-old squad member Tom Latham, capped in limited-overs internationals but not Tests, replacing Watling who batted but did not field yesterday. Another is top-order batsman Martin Guptill returning to the team, with McCullum keeping wicket.
Referring to Guptill, McCullum said: "He comes into the reckoning. We've obviously got to assess BJ as well and see how he's travelling for the next game and look at our options there.
“Whether that means Tom Latham comes in and bats at seven and takes the gloves, or I bat down at number seven and take the gloves and we're afforded the luxury, I guess, of playing another batsman at six, there's plenty of different options to look at.”
The imminent arrival of New Zealand’s non-Test party members of their squad for the NatWest Series and Champions Trophy gives further options to the tourists, Luke Ronchi being a wicketkeeping alternative.
"Without speaking to the selectors I would imagine he'd come into the reckoning,” McCullum added.
“It just depends on whether as a group we feel Tom is ready to take over the gloves in the Test match at Headingley, or whether the balance is right with me going to seven, or whether we think Ronchi coming out of winter is the right option. There's many different options that we've got up our sleeve.”