India has always been hospitable; Dravid is my oldest friend: Fleming | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India has always been hospitable; Dravid is my oldest friend: Fleming

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming talks about his oldest friend from the Indian team, his connection with the country and more.

cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2016 19:20 IST
Samarth Goyal
Stephen Fleming

Former Kiwi cricketer Stephen Fleming is good friends with Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni and Ashish Nehra.(Photo: Amal KS/HT)

Former New Zealand cricketer Stephen Fleming has visited India several times — from when he took part in tournaments as the Kiwi captain to when he coached the Chennai and Pune franchises in previous editions of Indian Premier League, after retirement. But the 43-year-old says it’s in his coaching days here that he got to know the real India.

“India has always been a great country to come to, very warm and hospitable. But the last ten years, especially ever since I started coaching, I’ve come to appreciate what India is all about. I’m not staying here for a day or two, but for longer stretches — three or four months. That gave me a chance to know everyone on a deeper level,” he says.

Read: India is a home away from home for Glenn McGrath

Off the pitch, Fleming has been a part of various initiatives here. The left-handed batsman, who was in Delhi recently as the brand ambassador of New Zealand education, tells us that (former cricketer) Rahul Dravid is his oldest friend in India.

“I have got a long standing relationship with Rahul Dravid. I have known him since 1992 because we played in the youth cup together. Since then our relationship has only grown and he has been very hospitable. Every time I am in Bengaluru, our families have dinner together,” he shares.

Read: Don’t be fooled into thinking the Indian players can’t party: Chris Gayle

Fleming is also good friends with the players he coached during the IPL. “(MS) Dhoni, (Suresh) Raina, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ashish) Nehra have become really good friends. To know them not as competitors but as your own teammates has been a phenomenal experience,” he says.