The time of reckoning for the man in the hot seat is here. New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has acknowledged that his role as skipper is under the scanner after an embarrassing 0-5 one-day international series defeat in India.
New Zealand suffered an eight-wicket drubbing in the final match at Chennai, losing their 11th successive match across three series on the subcontinent since August.
If a captain's role in the team is to lead by example, then Vettori has been a very poor example. In the one-day series, he ensnared just 2 wickets in 4 matches while going at economy rate of nearly 5. Meanwhile, his batting down the order too left much to be desired as he averaged only 15, coming in at crucial stages in all the matches.
Of course, his whole outfit has a lot to answer for. None of his top-order batsmen averaged more than 30, except Scott Styris who notched up 32.20 from 5 matches, while latter-order bat James Franklin was the highest Kiwi scorer with 187 runs accumulative, while India's top-scorers Gautam Gambhir and Kohli amassed 329 runs and 234 runs respectively.
The Kiwi bowlers did the worst job of all, with Andy McKay emerging as the highest wicket-taker with 7 scalps from 5 matches, but at a prodigious economy rate of 7.40 and an unimpressive average of 32.28. His fellow pace bowlers Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey and Tim Southee all went for over 6 runs an over, while only managing to grab six wickets between them. In contrast, India's R Ashwin tok 11 wickets from 5 matches at an average of 21.90 and an economy rate of 5.12.
Vettori knows his position as captain will be under scrutiny ahead of the home series against Pakistan, which starts with a Twenty20 match on Boxing Day. A cricket committee, established soon after the 0-4 loss in Bangladesh in October, has been tasked with reviewing all aspects of the team.
"I still think I've led the team as well as I can but I understand the need for results and the need for change, if it's needed," Stuff.co.nz quoted Vettori, as saying."
He emphasised that he wanted to retain the captaincy and help lift the team out of this hole.
"Life is about perpetually improving and that's what we need to do. We can't give up because New Zealand cricket is not going anywhere, and hopefully I'm part of the solution and I can bring some results to the team," Vettori said.
"It starts with our next series against Pakistan, which is an incredibly important series for us. I think we're a more confident team at home and I really hope we can turn our fortunes around leading into the World Cup," he said.
Vettori hoped the team would regain some confidence in the domestic Twenty20 championship before Pakistan arrives later this month.