Auckland: The most experienced spinner of New Zealand side Daniel Vettori said on Thursday that New Zealand would stick with their tried and trusted “casual” pre-match routine rather than let the enormity of Saturday`s World Cup clash against Australia overwhelm them.
Saturday`s match between the tournament co-hosts at Auckland`s Eden Park promises to be a high-class contest, with two title contenders battling for pole position in Pool A, a finish which would mean they faced the relatively weaker fourth and final qualifier from Pool B in the last eight.
But Vettori, a veteran of 289 one-day internationals, with 57 against Australia, was trying to keep a lid on all the hype surrounding the match.
“The casual build-up has worked pretty well for us. I don`t think there`ll be much difference with the way we`ll go about things,” Vettori told reporters during a New Zealand training session on Thursday.
“We will look forward to Saturday rather than fear it,” added the left-arm spinner, who stressed he had featured in “bigger” games than the latest trans-Tasman clash,
“World Cup semi-finals are the biggest games I`ve played in,” said Vettori, who featured in New Zealand`s defeats by Sri Lanka in the last four of both the 2007 and 2011 editions.
“Which is not to say there`s a keen sense of anticipation of what lies ahead,” added Vettori, also a a member of the New Zealand side that lost to Australia in the 2009 Champions Trophy final in Centurion, South Africa.
“That won`t change the New Zealand philosophy going into the game,” said Vettori, with he Black Caps the form team of this World Cup so far after three wins in as many pool matches. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has won plaudits for his aggressive leadership style and Vettori, himself a former skipper, compared his leadership style to that of Stephen Fleming, one of New Zealand`s most-respected captains.
“They are very good friends so they bring a lot of similar traits,” Vettori explained.
“Stephen was amazing in the background in the way he could organise and motivate a team. Brendon does that similar role but probably on the field.
“That`s why guys gravitate to him, for the example he sets, particularly with the way he fields. He sets an example you have to follow.
“Stephen did that, but in a more understated manner.”
Asked if he expected to be on the receiving end of any verbal abuse from Australia, Vettori replied: “In 18 years I can`t remember being sledged by an Australian team. I think the way it`s portrayed is not quite right. I think the guys will look forward to it.”
Vettori, who took two wickets in each of New Zealand`s last two games against Australia at Eden Park, was not bothered either by the reconfigured ground`s short straight boundaries, which will be an open invitation to Australia batsmen looking to hit his left-arm spin.
“I haven`t played on these dimensions so it will be new experience for me but I have talked to (fellow New Zealand spinner) Nathan (McCullum), who has done a good job here.
“Spinners have done well here, the short boundaries are daunting but we can still perform.”
Vettori said New Zealand`s eight-wicket win over England in Wellington last time out, where paceman Tim Southee took a national record seven for 33, had done wonders for the team`s confidence.
“The game at Wellington was a lot of fun and I think that is the nature we are trying to take into this game, we don`t get to play that often before a packed 45,000 crowd cheering for you.
“It will be a lot of fun and Australia will have fun too,” he added.