Here’s some statistics. Since the start of 2003, Daniel Vettori has had 48 Test innings and averaged 41.60 with two hundreds and 11 fifties. Since the start of 2005, he’s averaged 48.18.
Not half bad for a number eight batsman. You’ve really got to redefine what the middle-order is with New Zealand. In that period since the start of 2003, England’s combined number eights have produced five fifties – two of which were from Matt Prior when a nightwatchman had gone in.
What’s even more remarkable about that fact is that England’s number eight came to the crease 98 times during that period. That’s over twice as many innings as Vettori’s had.
Ah, but Vettori doesn’t always bat at eight, you say? No, he doesn’t. When he’s batted at eight since 2003, he’s averaged 53.95.
Duncan Fletcher must be frothing at the mouth – and if he found out about this, who knows what would happen.