Daniel Vettori still has a part to play in New Zealand’s bid for the ICC World Cup next year.
The 35-year-old has been a lynchpin for the Kiwis over the past decade, but uncertainty has prevailed over whether he will be heading to the tournament, some of which will be played on home soil, with the rest in neighbouring Australia.
Vettori, who has played 360 Tests and over 280 one-days, has been included in the 14-man squad for the upcoming ODIs with South Africa, though Ross Taylor will miss the series through injury.
It will be the first time he has played for New Zealand since an ODI against England in June 2013.
New Zealand are in an excellent position ahead of the World Cup, with South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers even tipping them as unlikely winners.
Spinners have been tipped to struggle at the competition by former Australia star Mike Hussey, but Vettori certainly has the experience to be a rose amongst thorns.
His ability to bowl economically could also earn him a spot in the squad, as with a strong batting line-up, New Zealand have a real chance of going far if they can restrict the opposition from scoring too highly.
Nonetheless, there is still always the possibility that injury will count against him. Vettori has been side lined with an ankle problem for several months, but earned a recall with a performance for New Zealand XI against Scotland last week.
Despite only bowling 10 overs against the Scots, head coach Mike Hesson is willing to give him a chance against the Proteas.
Only last year, prior to facing England, Vettori admitted that he thought his playing days were over, having struggled to come back from an Achilles injury.
Vettori plays on
Sadly, it is almost impossible to envisage Vettori ever playing Test cricket again, but that does not mean his international career should be over entirely.
In fact, even if he is not a regular member of the ODI squad, he could still find himself going to the World Cup as a one-off, not least because he is an experienced ahead in the dressing room.
New Zealand will play the first of three ODIs against South Africa on Tuesday.
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