Vettori excited by debutants
Daniel Vettori insists New Zealand are not gambling by selecting Grant Elliott and Tim Southee.
Last Updated: 21/03/08 11:01am
Daniel Vettori insists New Zealand are not gambling by giving debuts to Grant Elliott and Tim Southee in the deciding Test against England, which starts in Napier on Saturday.
The Black Caps have been forced into changes as both Jacob Oram (hip) and Kyle Mills (knee) are unfit.
But the decision to promote both South African-born all-rounder Elliott and 19-year-old seamer Southee to the starting XI is surprising for such an important match.
"As a New Zealand side, we've been through plenty of injuries in the past and it's always given guys opportunities to step up," said captain Vettori.
"Invariably, some guys have and put in performances that have led to them being in the team for a long time. We're hoping Tim and Grant are definitely that case because they've definitely got the talent."
Southee - in just his second season of first-class cricket - was the player of the tournament at the recent under 19 World Cup in Malaysia and Vettori is looking forward to unleashing him into the Test arena.
"It's pretty exciting for him," he added. "A first Test as a 19-year-old doesn't come along that often and he's an exciting prospect for us and we're looking forward to him starting a long career.
"He's a pretty consistent bowler, he swings it and if you have those two things, it doesn't really matter what sort of wicket you bowl on.
"We've seen some skills there which we think can transfer onto any wicket we play on.
"We know it's going to be a tough ask for him, particularly with a couple of guys out with injury, but we see something pretty special in him.
"It's disappointing because they've been our two better bowlers so you're losing two very good players from the side.
"It makes it tough but we've got some opportunities for Grant Elliott slotting straight into Jacob's role.
"It will be a big ask for him but he's a guy that's been earmarked for a little while and obviously Tim gets a chance to step into Kyle's shoes and push for a place on that England tour next month.
"It's something they've both probably got their eyes on and it will be a real honour for them to step up here and then get selected for the tour."
New Zealand have made a further alteration to the team that lost the second Test in Wellington by 189 runs.
Off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who played in the first Test win in Hamilton, regains his place from seam bowler Mark Gillespie, while former skipper Stephen Fleming makes his 111th and final appearance before retiring.