Vettori - No lasting damage
Daniel Vettori is expecting the NatWest Series decider to be played in the correct spirit.
Last Updated: 27/06/08 5:32pm
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is not expecting any bad blood to remain from the Grant Elliott run-out controversy when his side take on England in the NatWest Series finale at Lord's on Saturday.
The tourists hold a 2-1 lead after a one-wicket victory at the Oval on Wednesday, a game that was marred by England captain Paul Collingwood's decision to appeal for the run-out of Kiwi all-rounder Elliott.
Elliott was dismissed after a blameless mid-pitch collision with Ryan Sidebottom - Ian Bell relayed the ball for Kevin Pietersen to remove the bails at the non-striker's end as both men lay stricken on the ground.
After consulting with umpire Mark Benson, Collingwood decided against withdrawing the appeal, a decision that provoked a furious reaction from - among others - Vettori on the dressing-room balcony.
Although New Zealand eventually chased down their target of 246 with two runs - including an overthrow - from the final ball, it was only after a post-match apology from Collingwood for his lapse in judgement that the simmering tension between the two sets of players was defused.
The prospect of those feelings being rekindled at Lord's is further diminished by the subsequent four-match ban that was slapped on Collingwood by the International Cricket Council for the unrelated offence of England's slow over-rate. In his absence, Kevin Pietersen will lead the hosts.
"Everyone has made the appropriate statements and I think it has defused the situation quite quickly," said Vettori.
"From our position, we are grateful Paul made the stance he did and I sent our own apologies for a little bit of our own behaviour and from there I think we can move on.
"There shouldn't be any damage to the relationship between the two teams because both were sympathetic to each other's causes and what was going on.
"Now the dust has settled, 24 or 48 hours always tends to solve a lot of problems so I think both teams will go out there playing pretty hard but I don't think there will be any animosity between the sides.
"If England had won I think it would have made it more difficult. We moved on pretty quickly because of the result but I hope cool heads would still have prevailed at the end of the day's play.
"Even if we had lost, hopefully the same time-frame would have healed those wounds.
"I've never felt as angry as that over a cricket incident (as) on Wednesday. Anyone who knows me realises I'm not an angry person. I rarely get angry.
"That was a first for me. I look back on it and I was a little bit embarrassed by my own actions but the dust has settled now."
Vettori is a big admirer of stand-in skipper Pietersen, but also knows the absence of Durham all-rounder Collingwood will leave a big gap to fill.
"Kevin is a guy I've played with (at Nottinghamshire) and against quite a bit," he added.
"It seemed like the logical choice when Paul was unable to play to make him skipper.
"But I suppose for us it is about the gaping hole that Collingwood leaves. In our dressing room we think he is the best player because of the all-round capabilities he brings to the side.
"Pietersen obviously has huge shoes to fill but he is the sort of guy who seems to demand that sort of attention.
"From knowing Kevin, and the way he plays his game, I assume he is going to be reasonably aggressive so there may be some opportunities there with the way he sets fields, whatever it is.
"We are just going to have to sit tight and wait to see how he takes it on. In terms of exploiting it, I am not sure there are too many options in a one-off game."
New Zealand have one injury doubt with Elliott facing a fitness test on the bruised thigh he sustained in his coming together with Sidebottom.
"He hasn't shaped up too well after and he is going to go through a pretty rigorous test but we are confident he will be all right," revealed Vettori.
"If he is, obviously he will be in the side.
"We want to put our full-strength side out and Grant's performances over the last three games have been outstanding so he is definitely in the team if he is fit."