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Defining the greats of the game is not an easy task. Arguably, greatness can be temporary, reliant only on time, context and memory yet true greatness reaches down through generations.
It is now time to acknowledge that Dan Vettori deserves this status.
How do we define greatness? Glory, nobility, illustriousness and immortality are just a few alternatives offered by the Collins online Thesaurus.
Unanswerable questions, as with all subjective judgments, “greatness” can only be confined to the observers own perception and era.
Temperament over cold hard statistics often dictates when we define “greatness”, but when is it, that sheer weight of numbers defines a cricketer as “great”?
Here’s what we know about Dan Vettori: he is the youngest player to have represented New Zealand in Test cricket, having made his debut in 1996–97 at the age of 18. He is New Zealand’s leading one-day wicket taker and is only one of eight cricketers to have managed the double of 300 Test wickets and 3000 Test runs.
One of the game’s most durable players as a bowler, batter, fielder and captain, Vettori’s roles never fail to lift a nation that constantly needs inspiration, yet the frustration in playing in an underachieving team never seems to affect Vettori.
Edging towards a couple of significant milestones that will define his Test career, if Vettori’s wicket-taking pace of 3.3 wickets per match continues, he will surpass Richard Hadlee’s 431-wicket mark during New Zealand’s home series against the West Indies in 2013-14.
With 4389 Test runs and 356 wickets, he is also fast closing on Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev’s unique territory as the only Test cricketer to score more than 5000 runs and take more than 400 wickets.
Of the cricketers who have inspired millions to watch or take up the game, Lara, Warne, Muralitharan and Tendulkar are often the names thrown up in conversations when we talk about the greats of the game, where does Vettori fit in?
The fact Dan Vettori has gone about his business in an unassuming, yet inspiring manner, hasn’t helped his cause when we define the greats so I’m here to set the record straight.
The stats, for once, tell the unequivocal truth. Daniel Luca Vettori, humble, steadfast, honest Dan Luca Vettori, is one of the most admired cricketers to pull on a pair of whites.
Vettori knows his game better than anyone going around, he has the heart of an ox and continues to treat the game with respect, yet has any other globally renowned cricketer ever been quite so anonymous?
If this hasn’t convinced only one of you of Vettori’s standing in the game, I surrender.