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Get Fleming early and Kiwi middle-order could crumble

Like Lanka, the Kiwis have a balanced team that is well suited to the Caribbean conditions, says Tom Moody.

cricket Updated: Apr 12, 2007 03:05 IST
Tom Moody
Tom Moody

Compared to the usual high standards that we set on the field in our previous matches, our performance against England may have seemed a little below par to some. We missed a few crucial run-outs, and England put up a very good fight-back, which isn't really surprising considering the self-belief and confidence that the team carried into this tournament after the CB Series in Australia.

Tomorrow is a new day, however, and Kiwis present a different challenge. Like Lanka, the Kiwis have a balanced team that is well suited to the Caribbean conditions. Coincidentally, we have played a lot of cricket against New Zealand in New Zealand of late, and so the two teams pretty much know each other inside out.

For instance, we realise the value of early wickets against them because Stephen Fleming is the backbone of the side, and if we can get him to depart early, we can go a long way toward making inroads into the middle order, which has not seemed too comfortable against Murali. Of course, it is another matter that not too many players in world cricket are comfortable against Murali.

Off the field, speculation about my future continues to grow, and I mention this here because the speculation has now reached levels well beyond my expectations bordering on the ridiculous. Surely, there is enough to write about during a tournament of this nature without theorising about where I might land up once the tournament is over.

My stand has been clear from the beginning: and it has not changed since. My intention was always to wait until the end of the World Cup before deciding what I wanted to do with my life and coaching career. These are not decisions that I can take in the middle of such an important tournament, because that will mean focussing on areas that I should not be focussing on right now. We have put in a lot of time and effort into building this team, and the last thing I want are distractions of this nature.

Immediately after Justin Langer's comment about me going to Western Australia appeared in the media, I spoke to both Mahela and the Sri Lankan board and explained my position, which has made the issue less of a distraction. I have always been very open about my position with the team and the board, so they know where I stand. However, I can't control what people write about me, and it is enough for me if I can set the record straight with the team.

First Published: Apr 12, 2007 02:57 IST