Born 27 January 1979 in Auckland, New Zealand, Daniel Luca Vettori is the youngest cricketer to represent New Zealand in Test cricket, as well as being his country’s most capped cricketer, with an impressive 112 caps. Vettori is also perhaps most recognisable due to the prescription spectacles he wore while playing.
Beginning at school as a medium-pacer, Vettori adapted his game to become a spinner, and it is here where his road to success began. He would become the youngest Kiwi to play a Test match when making his debut at the age of 18 against England in 1997, before appearing in his first ODI match just a month later against Sri Lanka. Grasping his international opportunity with both hands, Vettori became the youngest Test cricketer to reach 100 test wickets at the age of just 21, and from there on never looked back. After a string of impressive performances, and captaining New Zealand to eight wins in eleven games in 2006, he was appointed captain on a permanent basis in 2007. He was named in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2007 T20 World Cup, before being voted into the ICC World ODI and T20 teams of 2008.
Daniel Vettori’s captaincy began with a shaky start with a loss in the Test series to England as well as controversy in the following ODI series, after he was heard shouting from the balcony at The Oval, before then refusing to shake hands with the England team after the match.
In taking his 300th Test wicket in Sri Lanka in 2009, Vettori became only the second New Zealand bowler to reach this feat – after Notts stalwart Richard Hadlee – and is currently New Zealand’s leading ODI wicket-taker. Holding a number of records due to his impressive bowling, Vettori then began to mature into a useful lower-order batsman. Despite averaging a rate of just 17.24 per innings for his first 1,000 runs, Vettori’s second thousand averaged at a rate of 42.52 per innings, thus cementing his place as a solid batsman, and successful all-round cricketer.
After the 2011 World Cup, Vettori stepped down from his international captaincy duties; he was, however, called back into the ODI team for the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. But from then on Vettori featured less and less, before eventually turning his trade to coaching. Head coach of the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2014 to 2018, Vettori was then appointed head coach of Middlesex and the Dublin Chiefs, and, in 2019, spin bowling coach to Bangladesh.
Daniel Vettori was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to cricket. Vettori is also the first cousin of David Hill, who made just one Test appearance for the All Blacks; his uncle Tony Hill and cousin Joseph Hill both played First-Class cricket throughout their careers.
Vettori may not have been a stand-out player in the history books at Nottinghamshire CCC, but he will always be pleasantly remembered. Deputising for five weeks in 2003 in the absence of Australian spinner Stuart MacGill, Vettori showed glimpses of his quality on his journey to becoming one of cricket’s all-time greats – he played in just two First-Class matches, with a best return of 4-74, and in his single List A game took just one wicket.