Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

'Not A Revenge Series'

'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.'


Downplaying the 'revenge' cricket series against India, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said there will not be any confrontation between the two teams when they meet in a two-Test series beginning from October 8.

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

Fleming, who arrived in Chennai along with the 14-member Test squad, praised his Indian counterpart Saurav Ganguly for his leadership skills.

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

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

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

"Out here we need to apply ourselves well. The wickets 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 a greater 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 on skills specified for Indian conditions and the wickets. We have had extensive preparation with four days in Auckland, eight days in Brisbane and another six days of proper cricket on this tour before we play the first Test," Fleming said.

"We are used to playing on grass and we certainly anticipate turning wickets in India but it is going to be interesting to see which side is going to perform".

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

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

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

"Mark has been performing well and has lot of talent in him and I expect him to be world leader in the near future," he said.

Fleming asked his deputy Nathan Astle to answer questions on the young medium pacers in the team and the opener gave some insights 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 coming through the ranks. I am sure they are here to perform well".

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

But the skipper admitted that he will miss strike bowler 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 willing perfomers and they have been looking forward to this tour," he said.

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

Fleming also discounted that the crowd in India is partisan. "Though the game is a religion in India the crowd has always appreciated players from either sides. It is a knowledgable population. I am coming from a rugby nation and it will be refreshing in playing under such conditions. We need to perform to win over the Indian supporters".

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



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