Long-serving New Zealand cricketer Daniel Vettori called time on his international career Tuesday, saying the World Cup final was his last appearance for the Black Caps.
“It was my last game for New Zealand so it was a lovely way to finish,” the former captain told reporters as the team returned from Sunday’s final to a heroes’ welcome despite being beaten by seven wickets by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“Obviously it would’ve been great to win but I’m really proud of everyone and the way we’ve gone about things the last six weeks.”
New Zealand Cricket added in a tweet: “Daniel Vettori officially announced he has played his last game for the @BLACKCAPS.”
The left-arm spinner, currently ranked as the 12th best ODI bowler in the world, took 15 wickets in the World Cup, the eighth best performance, including four for 18 against Afghanistan.
The 36-year-old’s announcement was no real surprise after an 18-year international career.
Vettori played his first Test as an 18-year-old against England in February 1997 and became his country’s most-capped Test player.
He went on to feature in 113 Tests, taking 362 wickets at an average 34.36 while scoring 4,531 runs including six centuries.
Alongside India’s Kapil Dev and England’s Ian Botham, he is the only player to have taken more than 300 Test wickets and scored more than 4,000 runs
In his ODI career, Vettori played 295 matches, taking 305 wickets at 31.71 and scoring 2,253 runs.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum revealed that Vettori pulled a calf muscle when exercising between innings in the World Cup final but still managed to send down five overs taking none for 25.
“In typical Dan style he still went out there and tried to get the job done,” McCullum said.
“We’re going to lose one of our all-time great players, we’re also going to lose a great bloke from the (team) environment as well so he’s going to be very hard to replace.
“We’ll have a nice celebration for him tomorrow … and we’ll be able to toast the success of his career and his impact on this game. We’ve been lucky to have the privilege of playing with him.”
Fellow New Zealander Kane Williamson said Vettori would be missed.
“Just his experience in the group — he’s such a leader — and to play for such a long time and with so many different players is an amazing thing,” he said.
“He’s had a fantastic career. He’s a great bloke and he’ll certainly be missed.”
Vettori was a popular player and the cricketing world was also quick to pay tribute, with Sri Lankan batting star Kumar Sangakkara tweeting: “#ThanksDaniel great pleasure playing with you mate.”
Australian Glenn Maxwell added: “Congratulations to this bloke on his career! Great bloke, great player, and extremely glad I don’t have to play against him anymore.”
South African all-rounder JP Duminy was equally glowing in his praise, tweeting: “Congrats Daniel Vetorri on an outstanding career. On of the best of all time. Been a privilege playing against you.”
Vettori succeeded Stephen Fleming as his country’s captain in 2007 and led New Zealand in 32 Test matches and 82 ODIs, before Ross Taylor took over in 2011. -AFP