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Vettori set to miss England Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff
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The wait on the sidelines continues for Daniel Vettori © AFP
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Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand left-arm spinner, is unlikely to be fit in time for the home Test series against England, which begins on March 6. Vettori is recovering from an Achilles tendon strain, and hopes to return to Test cricket on New Zealand's tour to England in May.

While he could be playing competitive cricket in a month's time, Vettori said he would not be able to play the long format right away. He told Fairfax NZ News that he was targeting a March return to List A cricket: "I'm hoping to be available for selection for Northern Districts' one-day campaign [that begins on February 28], and then whatever happens from there happens. I won't be able to play any four-day cricket, so the Test matches against England may be a stretch for me.

"That [New Zealand's tour of England] is probably a more realistic goal, but Achilles are funny things, they come and go with the pain and I need to prove to not only the selectors, but myself, that I can manage back-to-back days of cricket. That's the plan, but I'll just see how I go."

Vettori suffered the Achilles problem on and off over the last year, and also picked up a groin injury during the tour of West Indies in July-August. That groin injury kept him out of the India Test series that followed, but he made a comeback in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, where the injury recurred at the end of the group stage of matches. He missed the rest of the tournament and tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa subsequently, and is currently undergoing a four-month rehabilitation programme.

Vettori said he was about "three-quarters of the way through" that programme. A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson reportedly backed that up, saying Vettori was progressing well and his fitness would be reassessed in two to three weeks before a decision is taken on his intended return to domestic cricket in March.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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