Vettori puts country first

No question of divided loyalties between New Zealand and IPL

Last Updated: 01/05/08 7:20pm

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Vettori: ready for the real stuff

Vettori: ready for the real stuff

Sky Bet

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori insists he is fully focused on the upcoming Test series against England after arriving in the country on Thursday morning.

"Our priority is with New Zealand Cricket, but we hope that window is created so we can give full attention to IPL at the right time."
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Vettori is one of five members of the tourists' Test squad who was given permission to miss the opening two games to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition.

He touched down at Heathrow along with vice-captain Brendon McCullum at 7am, while the rest of the IPL contingent - Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor - are due later on Thursday.

And all five will be available for the four-day warm-up fixture against Essex, which starts at Chelmsford on Friday.

"We left five minutes after the game," he said of the dash for the plane after Wednesday's IPL fixture in Delhi.

"It was tight. But our [franchise] owners own the airport - so things got through pretty quickly!"

No mixed feelings

Vettori has been an easy convert to the IPL - for which he and others are to be more than handsomely rewarded - but he maintains the chance to lead New Zealand to a Test series win in England still stands head and shoulders above all else.

"There are no mixed feelings," he said about having to cut short his first IPL adventure to help his country in what remains of their short preparations for the start of the first Test at Lord's on May 15.

"My commitment was always to New Zealand Cricket, and this Test series is vitally important to us.

"We knew right from the start we'd only be there (in India) for a certain amount of games and that this Test series would take priority.

"With some of the guys, if you asked them sincerely they might have wanted to sneak another couple of games.

"But for me personally, I wanted to get over here to start our Test tour - because it is important we start well in the warm-up games.

"Notoriously, we're not very good in warm-up games - particularly in England - so we need to make sure from tomorrow we play the right way and put some performances on the board."

New Zealand have presented a united front ever since it was announced some of their number would stop off in India before joining their fellow tourists.

"We had quite in-depth discussions before it happened, and if the team hadn't wanted it to happen it never would have," added Vettori.

"Our priority is with New Zealand Cricket, but we hope that window is created so we can give full attention to IPL at the right time."

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