At the crease he was upright and elegant. Off the field he is articulate and cerebral. It has not been that long since Stephen Fleming hung up his boots.
The former New Zealand captain is not the most media-friendly, but when you do manage to pin him down for a chat, his words are loaded with intent and meaning. “There are some young players that have stepped up, which is great. The introduction of new talent has been exciting, it’s been a bit frustrating as well,” said Fleming, warning that New Zealand cricket might be in more trouble.
New Zealand are one of the worst-hit countries in terms of the exodus to the ICL, with the likes of Shane Bond, Hamish Marshall and Daryl Tuffey being unavailable. “When you lose so many players at once, it leaves a hole. And we don’t have the resources to fill this in straightaway,” explained Fleming. “It takes time, and that’s why you see the drop in performance. My view would be that once we get a good side, we introduce players at a rate where you don’t have that big drop-off.”
Fleming himself plays in the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings, in a coaching-cum-playing role, but that came at the end of his career. Speaking of succession plans, he said, “You do have that in mind but for one reason and another, maybe the T20 leagues in India played a big part. We lost players that possibly should still be playing. There were outside, extenuating reasons but it still highlighted the fact we need to work on our resources.
“But they have done a good job and the team that we have got now is good, hopefully peaking for the World Cup.”