Vettori shocked by decision to play on used track
Colombo: New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori expressed his shock when he found out that a used wicket is being prepared for the World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka to be played at R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
"They`ve told us we`re playing on the same one as England which is very surprising for us. Playing a World Cup semifinal on a used wicket, we would have thought it would be mandatory to prepare a fresh wicket. But obviously not," said Vettori on the eve of the semifinal.
The hosts played on the same track during their 10-wicket quarterfinal victory over England on Saturday, where they have used all three of their spinners. And now with the same wicket to be used, Vettori said, although he was tempted to use another spinner but was not sure.
"So for us we`ll have a good long hard look at McKay and Tuffey and see if they`re a good option to come in instead of the third spinner."
The Black Caps have flown in fast bowler Andy McKay in place of injured pacemen Kyle Mills. They also have an option of playing seamer Daryl Tuffey.
New Zealand, who have booked a berth in the semifinals of the World Cup for the sixth time, would be looking to register their first win in the last-four stage.
"Everyone wants to talk about our record of making them (to semifinals) and not going on any further," said Vettori. But Vettori added that his team, which caused a major upset by winning their quarterfinal against the strong South Africa by 49 runs, would take inspiration from New Zealand`s run to the Champions Trophy final two years ago.
"In the Champions Trophy we went one step further and made the final against Australia, so we can look on that and hope it`s a starting point for us going past the semis," said Vettori. New Zealand who have won only one major event – the Champions Trophy in 2000 -- were never considered to make it so far in the tournament, especially after suffering heavy losses to Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stage.
But Vettori heaped a lot of praises on newly-appointed coach John Wright. "Look, John`s been fantastic for us. I`ve loved working with Wrighty and he`s brought a lot of passion to the team. And his knowledge of people over here and grounds has been a tremendous help as well," he said.
"But the players took the blame for those losses (to Bangladesh and India) so I think the players have to take credit for the wins as well."
New Zealand have at least six players in their ranks, who were a part of the 2007 edition of the World Cup -- Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Scott Styris and Ross Taylor. And they figured in the team`s 81-run semifinal defeat to Sri Lanka at Jamaica. And Vettori said his teammates are prepared for another tough semifinal battle against Sri Lanka, who would be playing in front of their home crowd.
"Whenever we`ve won well we`ve backed it up with a poor performance. We`ve had our up performance (against South Africa) so we`ve got to make sure we we`ve got another one in the bag because we know how strong Sri Lanka can be in their home conditions," said Vettori.
All set to step down from the ODI captaincy after the World Cup, Vettori said he was lucky to have led New Zealand for four years. "I`ll be 32 so I think it`s time for someone new to come in. After four years, some fresh ideas and a different voice. I wanted to give as much as I could in that time, and then whoever the next man is, stick around and support them as much as I can," said Vettori.