Elliott eyes big impact
New Zealand's surprise hero Grant Elliott wants to make an even bigger mark on the one-day series.
Last Updated: 24/06/08 8:26am
New Zealand's surprise hero Grant Elliott wants to make an even bigger mark on the one-day series with England after playing a starring role in their win in Bristol.
Elliott was only drafted into the Black Caps squad as cover for the injured Jacob Oram, but was a major factor in their tight victory in Bristol on Saturday.
The 29-year-old came to the crease with Daniel Vettori's side in deep trouble, but his patient 56 from 102 balls proved to be vital in their 22-run success.
The all-rounder also took 3-23 in what was his one-day debut at Edgbaston in the previous match, and he certainly noticed a big difference after previously playing in the Surrey League.
Elliott now feels he has settled back into international cricket and hopes to retain his place in the side for Wednesday's game at the Oval - where he has vowed to make an even bigger impact on proceedings.
"I played five days on the trot before I joined up with New Zealand - three with Sussex Seconds, one for Weybridge and then a charity game, but I didn't feel as if I was ready to hit the ground running," said Elliott.
"When you play league cricket, you don't face the sort of bowlers you are going to face at this level. It was a matter of putting the work in during the nets.
"You feel a little bit underdone, a bit under-cooked. I think of myself of a batter who bowls. I felt that I struggled with the bat at Bristol although I don't think the conditions were that easy.
"But I felt things were clicking towards the end of my innings. Now I just want to build on that and take things forward.
"If I do get an opportunity to play again on Wednesday, I want to build on that and make sure I get 80 off 80 balls instead of 50 off 100 balls."
With the series now level at 1-1, New Zealand will hope to take what could be a decisive lead on Saturday, with just two more matches to play.
Elliott says that although he is naturally more suited to Test cricket, he can adapt his batting to the one-day format.
"I am quite a restrained batter. I am used to the longer version of the game," he explained.
"But when batting in the middle order, you have to know when to play your shots and to back yourself and when maybe to just pull in the reins a bit, take singles and be content with four an over instead of going for the big shots.
"At Bristol I was toying with the fact that maybe I should have gone after things a little bit earlier and tried to force a bigger total.
"But then we got the message to have a go at the 48-over stage so I kept pushing the ones until then and Kyle Mills did a great job at the end with 47 of 40 balls. That was crucial."
Elliot played one Test against England over the winter and the South African-born all-rounder still feels he is adjusting to international cricket.
"I wouldn't say I am a fully fledged international - I've played one Test and two one-dayers," he added.
"But I feel at ease when I am out there which is a good thing. I don't think I'm panicking.
"I've got quite a calm mind whereas, when I played in the Test, the moment was quite big for me, quite emotional, because it was something I always wanted to do as a child."