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India "real threat" at the World Cup: Fleming

Stephen Fleming on Tuesday described India as "a real threat" at the World Cup and said the team possessed much more talent than it had been allowed to show by the "below-par" pitches in his country.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2003 19:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming on Tuesday described India as "a real threat" at the World Cup and said the team possessed much more talent than it had been allowed to show by the "below-par" pitches in his country.

In encouraging words for the Indian team, which was annihilated by the Kiwis in both the Test and the one-day series, Fleming said India's poor batting show had a lot to do with the nature of the pitches which were "very, very bowler- friendly".

"We know you've got more talent than what the pitches here allowed you to show and we know that you will be a real threat in the World Cup. We look forward to seeing you in the Super Sixes," Fleming said addressing his Indian counterpart Sourav Ganguly.

He said the Indian batsmen were probably unable to adjust their techniques to suit the conditions and also lacked mental toughness at times but he was sure they would come roaring back in the World Cup.

"I can't speculate but I am sure they are going to be competitive again.

"Looking back they could have adjusted their techniques a little bit better. They were mentally not as tough as they needed to be at key times. They could be a little bit down in spirit and feel outplayed by the way our bowlers bowled. But I don't think they would be bad going to the World Cup," he said.

Fleming severely criticised the wickets which were tailor-made for fast bowlers and extremely difficult for batting, and felt those had affected the preparation of his batsmen for the World Cup.

"The conditions have been very, very bowler-friendly. Generally speaking, the wickets have been below par," he said.

"It's been a very difficult summer for the batsmen. We had our techniques scrutinised. It's fine to question techniques but I think the surfaces need to be looked at a lot more closely."

The Kiwi captain was delighted with the comprehensive win his team had registered over India.

"It's a psychological boost to win this game before the World Cup. It's a pretty comprehensive win and we are happy with the 5-2 scenario. It is pretty reflective of the way the series has gone," he said.

"This was a real war of attrition. There were games that we had to win and we set about doing just that."

He was very satisfied with the performance of his bowlers but said the batsmen had to pull up their socks before the World Cup.

"The series has been bowler-dominated and I know that we will go to South Africa with a lot of confidence.

"The batters have struggled on this tour. So you have one half of the side which is looking forward to the World Cup and the other half that has some work to do," he said.

After struggling for most part of the series, Fleming struck form in the seventh and final one-dayer today, making a match-winning unbeaten 60 that earned him the man of the match award.

"It was by far the best innings I have played this summer. It's just a matter of belief and I never left it," he said.

"It's just the nature of the game we are playing. You get through a period of 5-10-15 overs with as little damage as possible. It's a matter of how long you could survive. But if you can get a partnership, make sure that it's the winning one.

"It's been a very difficult but good period because now the guys going to South Africa know they have a lot of work to do."

Fleming was not upset that despite the comprehensive win, his team had not been given enough credit by the local media.

"I am not bothered by it. You got to be satisfied about winning matches. Whatever conditions you get, you got to be better than opposition.

"On a couple of occasions, it didn't work for us in the one-dayers but overall we dominated them."

He said his side's performance in these conditions gave him confidence to be a better force in South Africa.

"We have been very competitive in these conditions and there is no reason why we can't be in better conditions."

First Published: Jan 14, 2003 19:05 IST