Back problems rule out Vettori, McCullum

Guwahati: New Zealand on Sunday missed the services of their skipper Daniel Vettori and explosive opener Brendon McCullum because of back problems in the first ODI of the five match series against India here on Sunday.

“During the past week, Dan (Vettori) has complained of lower back stiffness and it has intensified during preparation for the One-Day series,” coach cum selector Mark Greatbatch said on Sunday.

“Brendon suffered a back spasm at the start of the third Test against India and still has soreness so needs to get that right.

“We wanted to give them until this morning to see how they were but it’s clear they need a few more days to recover.”

“We considered playing Brendon as a batsman only but that could delay his recovery so we took a longer term view. The extra rest gives him a chance of taking the gloves later in the series. They are both disappointed, however it does provide a wonderful opportunity for other players to step up.

“We’re confident the likes of Jamie How and Martin Guptill will make the most of their chance after forcing their way back into the side. Both guys are likely to open the batting and I’m sure they’ll make a good use of it,” Greatbatch said.

“Ross Taylor will get another opportunity to captain the side and Gareth Hopkins will keep wickets.”

Meanwhile, the Black Caps observed a two-minute silence just before the start of the proceeding in memory 29 coal miners who died in an underground blast a week ago.

New Zealand is rocked by a series of coal mining blast in the past one week with the latest being on Friday in which there was no casualty.