There is a sense of calm about Daniel Vettori that encapsulates his cricket. His words are measured, so are his moves in the arena.
This old-fashioned player with enormous cricketing nous finds himself amidst the hustle and bustle of Twenty20 cricket. It has been a rough ride so far for Royal Challengers Bangalore but captain Vettori remains confident. "Most teams go through losing streaks in a lengthy league phase such as the one at the IPL. I am very excited about the talent in the side. We can come back," the 32-year-old Vettori told The Hindu here on Saturday.
The topic soon shifted to his role with the New Zealand team in the coming days. His numbers as a spin bowling all-rounder - Vettori has 4167 runs at 30.19 and 345 wickets at 33.98 in 105 Tests – underlined his stature. He bowls with guile and exceptional control and has evolved as a batsman with a healthy mix of solidity and flair.
Vettori, though, has abdicated captaincy in all forms of the game for his country. A suave, successful skipper, who comprehended the flow of the game, Vettori's tactical attributes would be missed by New Zealand.
Explained Vettori, "It's time for new ideas, fresh inputs. Basically, it's about the four-year cycle from one World to another. A new captain has to build the team for the next World Cup."
Asked about spinners suffering in the shorter formats of the game, he answered, "The boundaries are too small. If you make the boundaries longer, it will even the contest and the spinners will come into the picture more. I believe bigger boundaries will solve the problem."
Then he dwelt on his area of specialty – left-arm spin. Apart from Vettori, there are not too many bowlers of this tribe thriving in international cricket. Vettori said, "Monty Panesar started very well and could still have some good years for England left in him.”
The Kiwi, then, uttered something significant. “The doosra revolutionised off-spin bowling. The off-spinners began turning the ball both ways and soon came into centrestage. A left-arm spinner sending down a doosra could be around the corner. The right-hander will shape for the delivery turning away but ball will spin in.”
Vettori conceded it might not be possible for a young spinner to adjust to all the formats in his formative years but added the good spinners, those who impart serious revolutions on the ball, would still come through. “There might not be too many young spinners around but do not forget that spinners mature late. They blossom with experience. Give them time. I do not think bowling is under any threat.”
The New Zealander's favourite contemporary spinner is Harbhajan Singh. “I can take time off just to watch him bowl. He spins the ball both ways, has the variations. He likes a duel and has the aggression, which is good to see in a spinner,” said Vettori.
A lover of the traditional form of the game, Vettori wanted more sporting pitches for Tests. “There should be a little in it for the pacemen on the first day, then it should favour batsmen and deteriorate gradually to assist the spinners. The pitch should not play flat on the final day. The bounce should be good and consistent.”
Turning his attention to UDRS, Vettori said, “It is good for the game. I agreed with it from day one. It definitely removes blatant umpiring errors that have swung so many matches, from the game. It's fair to both the batsmen and the bowlers and does not slow down the game.”
Opening out on the New Zealand side, Vettori acknowledged the natural ability of Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and Matrin Guptill. “There is so much talent and that is why it is so frustrating when the side does not perform,” he mulled.
He had happy memories of the recently-concluded World Cup though and said, “The victory against South Africa in the quarterfinal was the highlight. We were very good as a group that day. The league win over Pakistan was also very satisfying. We proved a lot of people wrong.”
Vettori was excited about young paceman Tim Southee. “He swings the ball at 140 kmph. I think he is the future of New Zealand bowling.”
On John Wright taking over as New Zealand coach, Vettori said, “John (Wright) has been very good to the team. He has given the players confidence.”
Queried about India's World Cup triumph, Vettori said, “The Indians handled the enormous pressures of playing at home. When they needed to step up, they did so in a grand manner. This is the mark of a champion side.