Fleming back at the helm for World Cup - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fleming back at the helm for World Cup

By Chris Barclay 05/01/2007 04:51:58 PM Comments (0)

It is full steam ahead to the Caribbean for New Zealand's cricket captain Stephen Fleming.

He confirmed only injury would prevent him from playing the remainder of New Zealand's extensive build-up to the cricket World Cup.

Fleming, who watched the first three one-dayers against Sri Lanka from his lounge, rejoins the fray at Eden Park on Saturday in what could be a perfectly timed return should the Black Caps wrap up the series before heading to Hamilton for the final match on Tuesday.

Much of the hard work has been done under Daniel Vettori's stewardship after New Zealand bounced back from a shellacking in Napier to win, albeit with some difficulty, at Queenstown and Christchurch.

With batting regarded as a weakness for both teams, the end of Fleming's enforced stand-down period could tilt the balance in the home side's favour despite the elegant left hander being reduced to "reconditioning" and an occasional net session since the Boxing Day Twenty20 clash in Auckland.

Fleming was clearly relishing the opportunity to coordinate the run-up to the World Cup, though he did embrace the concept of enjoying some down time over the festive period.

"There's 13 games minimum before we head to the West Indies - that's a lot of cricket. Then we've got two months of that campaign, so to take a breath now and then get the head down has been good mentally," he said.

Although Fleming was intended to be taking a breather from his all consuming role, he obviously could not divorce himself entirely from proceedings and will be passing on some observations, notably to relatively new opening partner Brendon McCullum, before the team strives for a third consecutive victory.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody is looking for a collective improvement from his top order after the last two scores of 224 and 112 proved undefendable.

"We haven't batted anywhere near as well as we should have - and as it turned out we didn't really need huge totals, we just needed a handful more in each game," he said.

Sanath Jayasuriya encapsulated Sri Lanka's deterioration following the massacre at McLean Park. He smashed 111 off 82 balls in Napier but has managed only a solitary single since.

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