New Zealand is all set to play its first test of the tour against India on Thursday and it will be a match that marks a very special milestone for Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori. This encounter would be Vittori's 100th test match, making him only the second cricketer from his country, since former captain Stephen Fleming, to reach the landmark.
"It's a great honour for me and something I would really cherish all my life. It's been an amazing journey," said Vettori. "For anyone to have such longevity is a great achievement. The fact that I have played well most all the time and that it is not just a number, gives me great satisfaction."
Vettori's coach Mark Greatbatch called the accomplishment a "phenomenal achievement". "Dan is very humble and very hard working, and 100 Tests for New Zealand is a testament to his skills and his longevity, " said Greatbatch.
Vettori said the occasion, as momentous as it is, won't disrupt his focus once the Test begins. "I have got all the celebrations out of the way in Hamilton; I am just trying to focus on the game. I am trying to see it as just another Test."
But it won't be just another test match, for another milestone hangs in the balance. If he hits 38 runs at Motera he will become only the third allrounder in test history to have 4000 runs and 300 test wickets, after Kapil Dev and Ian Botham.
"I suppose with how my game has developed over the last few years, I have worked on my skills, 4000 runs and 400 wickets is what I really aspire to achieve and that's not too far away," he said. Vettori is currently on 325 wickets, making him without a doubt New Zealand's all-time best bowler. "But if I do get there [431 wickets], I would still see Sir Richard Hadlee as our greatest bowler ever. His record is amazing."
Vettori assumed the captaincy of his side from Fleming after the 2007 World Cup and is presently going through his hardest time as a leader. New Zealand were routed 4-0 by Bangladesh in the recent one-day series and faced severe flak back home.
Vettori is the sole member in this squad who has played tests in India and he said that though he will have a large part to play, he looks forward to a big effort from the pace bowlers.