Former Kiwi Mr. Dependable Elliot keen to make it to WC squad

Sunday, January 9, 2011

WELLINGTON - Till under two years ago, Grant Elliot was touted as the most dependable man in New Zealand cricket. He was the rock in a Black Caps batting order that was, at best, inconsistent, but in 2011, he is hoping for a berth in the national squad for the World Cup.

In 2009, while batting at No 4, the South African-born all-rounder scored 115 just one match after an unbeaten 61 to signal his arrival on the international cricket scene.

A few more solid starts followed throughout the year before his beautifully paced 75 not out against Pakistan at the Champions Trophy that October to guide New Zealand into the final. That settled it - Elliott was there to stay.

During the year, he amassed 507 runs at 42.25 in 21 one-dayers and took eight wickets. Life was good.

Thereafter, he suffered a broken thumb injury at the Champions Trophy, which saw him miss New Zealand’s one-day tour against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. He returned for the test series against Pakistan but then he took six months out of the game to recover from knee tendinitis.

Elliott finally returned in August’s tri-series against Sri Lanka and India but, aside from an innings of 59 in Bangladesh two months later, 2010 was something of a write-off for the 31-year-old.

Such performances will have many fans wondering whether Elliott’s name will now be missing when the selectors announce their 15-man World Cup squad on January 19.

Not that the Wellington captain is losing much sleep about his chances of returning to the sub-continent in February - a trip he concedes he is desperate to make.

“The selectors might think I’m out of nick, but if I look at how I’ve gone in domestic cricket this summer I actually feel like I’m hitting the ball better than I’ve ever hit it,” Elliott said.

“I have three one-dayers coming up for Wellington. I’m not really worried too much about World Cup selection at this point in time. But in saying that, playing at the World Cup is a dream of mine,” he said.

He added: “Cricket’s the sort of game where the best players in the world are really only succeeding once in perhaps every three innings. That means they are failing 66 percent of the time. It’s a crazy sport, isn’t it?

In many ways, he feels like the forgotten man of New Zealand cricket, thanks to his lengthy layoff with injury, but says if he’s given a chance at the World Cup he won’t disappoint. (ANI)

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