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Kiwi skipper urges seniors to perform

Kiwi skipper urges seniors to perform

New Zealand is yet to win a match in England on this tour.

England: New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has called on his squad's senior players to help his side salvage something from a tour of England which threatens to end without an international victory.

Sunday's 114-run thrashing in the first one-day international here at the Riverside came hot on the heels of Friday's equally lopsided nine-wicket reverse in a Twenty20 international at Old Trafford.

Earlier this month England sealed a 2-0 Test series win over New Zealand with a crushing innings and nine run victory at Trent Bridge.

Nevertheless World Cup semi-finalists New Zealand went into the one-day series, which continues at Edgbaston on Wednesday, with high hopes.

But left-arm spinner Vettori, himself the most experienced player in the squad, believes the senior men, who include all-rounder Scott Styris, pace bowler Kyle Mills and keeper-batsman Brendon McCullum, must raise their game if further humbling defeats are to be avoided.

"This isn't going to become a nightmare. It's not the junior guys' responsibility to stand up and give performances," he said.

"It's the guys who have played more than 50 one-dayers - it's their responsibility to win games for the team, but at the moment none of us are doing that."

New Zealand's cause hasn't been helped by the ongoing absence of key all-rounder Jacob Oram, who sustained a hamstring injury while warming up for the Twenty20. But Vettori said that was no excuse for ignoring basic cricket disciplines.
For example, on Sunday, New Zealand would have had Ian Bell, the in-form England opener, caught behind had not Mills bowled a no-ball.

"There are some simple things like the extras and we talked about having wickets in hand when we got to the last 10 overs - we were up with the English scoring rate, it was just the wickets that hurt us.

"Our top five need to stand up and score the majority of the runs and we need our bowlers to lift their performance."

New Zealand, in a bid to bolster their squad and provide cover for Oram, who is unlikely to be fit before the third one-day international in Bristol on Saturday at the earliest, called up Grant Elliott from club cricket in Surrey, south-east England, on Monday.

The South Africa-born all-rounder, who could go straight into the side at Edgbaston, made his Test debut against England in Napier earlier this year but took only one wicket and scored just 10 runs in two innings.

"Jacob's one of the best one-day players in the world so every time you take a guy like that out of your side it's a real loss," said Vettori.

"Not only would his steadiness with the ball have come in handy but also his power with the bat.

"I think he'll struggle for the next game and we'll just push him as hard as we can for the following one in Bristol. "Because we've got such a big break after this we can probably push it a little harder than we normally would with Jacob."
first published:June 17, 2008, 11:36 IST