Pressure on Trescothick: Fleming

PTI | ByJulian Guyer (AFP), London
May 19, 2004 08:07 PM IST

The New Zealand captain said on the eve of first Test that England's stand-in skipper would be under pressure when the teams meet.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said England stand-in skipper Marcus Trescothick would be under pressure when the teams meet at Lord's on Thursday for the first match of a three-Test series.

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Trescothick was promoted to the captaincy on Wednesday after regular skipper Michael Vaughan was ruled out with a twisted right knee sustained while batting in the Lord's nets on Monday.

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Fleming, 31, New Zealand captain for the past seven years and widely regarded as one of the most tactically astute leaders currently in the game, rarely misses a trick to put opposing players under pressure.

But he insisted he had not devised any special plans to cope with the fact that Trescothick was now leading England in a Test match for the first time.

"I think if you lose your captain it's got to be a disadvantage only because the team has gone well under Michael," Fleming told reporters at Lord's on Wednesday.

"They've developed patterns under his captaincy and when you change those patterns you can sometimes get a disjointed effect.

"But we're probably not going to read too much into it because Trescothick has been part of the side for some time. What we are interested in is how it will affect his batting.

"We've noticed with interest the amount of pressure certain individuals are under from the media," Fleming added. "Whether he's one of those and takes on the extra responsibility it will be interesting to see."

During New Zealand's one-day series at home to South Africa, Fleming tried sledging the Proteas' inexperienced captain Graeme Smith.

However, he insisted Trescothick would not be in line for similar verbal abuse at Lord's.

"Most of the English guys have been around the game long enough and are ahead of the game in that respect," Fleming, who led New Zealand to their 2-1 Test series win on their last tour of England in 1999 added.

"The pressure will come from within. He (Trescothick) is proving himself as a new captain. He obviously wants to do it in future. That's a great aspiration to have and he's got his opportunity at Lord's."

But Fleming added that he knew from the experience of New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns how hard it was to be a stand-in skipper.

"Chris Cairns has often talked about it, having a caretaker role. You know Vaughany is going to come back in, you don't have time to stamp your own role on the team."

As well as Trescothick, Fleming himself will be in an unfamiliar situation during this Test match. For the first time in Test cricket Fleming will open the batting from the start of a game.

His only previous experience at the top of a Test order came when he made an unbeaten 58 in the second innings against Sri Lanka in Colombo last year.

"I've wanted to (open in Tests) for some time. Number three's been going in one for 10, one for 20 and by that time the opening bowlers are into their stride.

"At least this way you are in the front line straight away and this way you can exert pressure from ball one," said Fleming, who has recovered from a hip injury.

Turning to his attack, Fleming said the absence of fast bowler Shane Bond, still recovering from stres fracture of the back would be a loss.

But he added: "Chris Martin did well against South Africa, Daryl Tuffey been the spearhead of the attack and two all-rounders in Jacob Oram and Chris Cairns strength of the side.

"We haven't got variation of 155 kph or someone who turns it prodigiously but we have got a very good left-arm spinner (Daniel Vettori).

Fleming, who said New Zealand and England were among a bunch of sides chasing Australia, played down his reputation as a tactician: "The team comes up with ideas, I just decide when the right time is to implement them.

"But you can have all the plans in the world and you've still got to put them into place. It's also important to stay ahead of the game."

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