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'Not A Revenge Series'

Dismissing there would be 'confrontation' between the two teams, the New Zealand skipper says 'It is a non-confrontation series. But we are also realistic about the touch competition ahead.'

'Not A Revenge Series'
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Downplaying the 'revenge' cricket seriesagainst India, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said there will not be anyconfrontation between the two teams when they meet in a two-Test seriesbeginning from October 8.

"It is not a confrontation series between theteams but a non-confrontation series. But we are also realistic about the touchcompetition ahead," he said.

Fleming, who arrived in Chennai along with the14-member Test squad, praised his Indian counterpart Saurav Ganguly for hisleadership skills.

"I respect Saurav as a captain, leader anda good player. It is not a revenge series and there will not be anyconfrontation between the captains and the players," Fleming said before leaving for Vishakapatnam for the three-day tour openeragainst the Board President's XI from Sep 26-28.

"We are realistic about the tough competitionahead in the two Tests and the triangular series (with Australia as the thirdteam) but we are looking forward to an enjoyable tour," he said.

Fleming said that he definitely does not consider thetour as a contest between the rival captains.

"Out here we need to apply ourselves well. Thewickets in India are dry and hard and also have turn for slow bowlers.Statistics prove that it has been so for hundred odd years. It is going to be agreater challenge and we have to live with it," he said.Fleming said the team's preparation for the India tour was very good.

"We had positive and extensive preparation onskills specified for Indian conditions and the wickets. We have had extensivepreparation with four days in Auckland, eight days in Brisbane and another sixdays of proper cricket on this tour before we play the first Test," Flemingsaid.

"We are used to playing on grass and we certainlyanticipate turning wickets in India but it is going to be interesting to seewhich side is going to perform".

Coach Ashley Ross said the team is rich in experienceand has some good youngsters who have had a successful tour of Sri Lanka whichhelped them get used to the conditions in the sub-continent.

"I am sure the youngsters in the team will comegood from their Indian experience," he said.

Backing the youngsters to come good, Fleming singledout Mark Richardson as a potential world leader.

"Mark has been performing well and has lot oftalent in him and I expect him to be world leader in the near future," hesaid.

Fleming asked his deputy Nathan Astle to answerquestions on the young medium pacers in the team and the opener gave someinsights into the Kiwi arsenal.

"Michael Mason honed his skills under Dennis (Lillee)at the MRF Pace foundation here. He is good and other young guys are comingthrough the ranks. I am sure they are here to perform well".

"I agree with Astle. We would like to give more opportunity to theseyoungsters and they are excited about it," Fleming said.

But the skipper admitted that he will miss strikebowler Shane Bond, who is recovering from an injury.

"Shane Bond cannot be replaced like Chris Cairns.But they have gained experience in Sri Lanka. They are young and willingperfomers and they have been looking forward to this tour," he said.

Analysing his form with the bat Fleming said: "Ihave had bad experiences, but the century against South Africa in the World Cuphelped me develop as a batsman. At the same time I need to develop as a captaintoo".

Fleming also discounted that the crowd in India ispartisan. "Though the game is a religion in India the crowd has alwaysappreciated players from either sides. It is a knowledgable population. I amcoming from a rugby nation and it will be refreshing in playing under suchconditions. We need to perform to win over the Indian supporters".

New Zealand squad: Stephen Fleming (capt), Nathan Astle, IanButler, Robbie Hart, Richard Jones, Craig McMillan, Michael Mason, Jacob Oram,Mark Richardson, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent andPaul Wiseman.

PTI

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