Sharjah, Nov 30: New Zealand's veteran spinner Daniel Vettori said today he didn't feel it appropriate to call time on his Test career after the tragic death of Phil Hughes who was like a team-mate.
The 35-year-old staged a comeback in Test cricket after an injury gap of 28 months in the third and final Test in Sharjah, a match overshadowed by Hughes's tragedy. Hughes passed away on Thursday after being hit on the head by a bouncer in a first class match in Sydney.
Vettori said he was unlikely to add to his record 112 caps for New Zealand - he also played one Test for ICC World XI in 2005 - but did not officially announce it. "I suppose the current timing, what's happened in the last few days, it doesn't feel appropriate to make a big statement, so I thought that I'd just sit back and enjoy the Test win as much as I can," said Vettori after New Zealand's big innings and 80-run win over Pakistan which levelled the series 1-1.
Vettori added just two wickets and now has 362 in 113 Tests. "It's been amazing to come back into the group and obviously the performance of the guys which is something that I will treasure for ever but it is tinged with the sadness about Phil's passing," said Vettori. (Indian-origin umpire hit by ball, dies)
"I think the group doesn't feel like celebrating, we tried to commemorate Phil's memory in the best way we can because a number of the guys knew him well. We saw him as one of us." Vettori said New Zealand were proud of their comeback after losing the first Test in Abu Dhabi and drawing the second in Dubai.
"I think within the dressing room there is pride to bounce back and perform so dominantly, when we look back we will look at it with pride."
Vettori was part of New Zealand's 'A' team to United Arab Emirates and his recall surprised everyone. "Obviously I felt a little strange. I was with the 'A' team preparing for the one-days but Brendon (McCullum) and coach (Mike) Hesson spelt out the role they wanted me to play and how I can contribute to the team, especially as the team had fought so well in the second Test and hopefully I could play a small part in the Test," said Vettori of his recall.
That prompted him to request his wife to send his Test cap. "My wife couriered it over. I was lucky that it made it here in time, it wouldn't have felt quite right to play a Test match not in this cap," he said.
"It has seen a lot of games and a lot of good times and a lot of hard times, so it's very special to me." Vettori praised captain McCullum.
"I watched the team from afar, how well the team performed and the way Brendon led them, how well they performed in the last few years it's a very confident team and stepping into this atmosphere I didn't feel like there was a lot of expectation."