Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hopes Saturday's Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne will be "one more, big fairytale finish" to the international career of Daniel Vettori.
Vettori has announced Sunday's match against either Australia or India will be the last of his international career. He will retire as New Zealand's most-capped tests player — with 113 matches — and one-day internationals — Sunday's match will be his 291st for New Zealand and he needs three more dismissals Sunday to finish with 300 ODI wickets.
Vettori made his debut aged 18 in 1997 and, now 36, has spent half his life in the New Zealand team. While he says retirement "is not what I'm thinking about," his teammates want to help him end his career with a win.
"He's been an outstanding contributor for us," McCullum said. "He's played for New Zealand for half his life.
"(A win) would be a great way to potentially send him off."
Vettori is still a key member of the New Zealand team and has demonstrated his value throughout the World Cup with a series of frugal bowling performances and cameo innings. He was at the crease on 7 not out when Grant Elliott hit the winning runs in Tuesday's semifinal against South Africa.
"I guess it was potentially his last game on home soil and for him to be out there at the end and be as instrumental and as calm as he was under pressure, it was superb," McCullum said.
"He was struggling a bit with his back, too. He's played a lot of his career with bumps and bruises and niggles and strains. He's a tough customer and he's been an amazing servant."
But Vettori doesn't want his swansong to distract New Zealand from its aim of winning the World Cup for the first time.
"It's not what I'm thinking about," he said. "It's just about having some fun and enjoying the game and enjoying the buildup to a World Cup final," he said. "No-one else in New Zealand cricket history has been able to experience that before so it's pretty exciting to experience a grand final week.
"The chance to play a World Cup final regardless of where you are in your career is something everyone dreams about."