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Indian batsmen need to prove their class: Fleming
December 18, 2002 09:31 IST
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has challenged Indian batsmen to live up to their much-vaunted reputation in the second Test between the two sides starting on Thursday.
"We hear a lot of talk about India's batting and how they are the best players in the world," Fleming said on Wednesday.
"But, if you can't play on all surfaces, then you are not the best players in the world.
"They can be great players, but to adapt to different surfaces would make them even greater.
"When we go to India, we have to adjust to slower, turning wickets and that's just as big a challenge -- more so in some instances -- as playing on a good, bouncy wicket," he added.
New Zealand lead the two-match series 1-0 after demolishing their opponents by 10 wickets at the Basin Reserve in Wellington last week.
"We have been wanting bouncier wickets but, with the weather we've had, we've also copped a lot of seam," he said. "If we're honest, no one likes that."
Meanwhile, India still face fitness concerns over Sanjay Bangar and Ajit Agarkar, who suffered finger injuries in the Wellington Test.
Agarkar's injury could provide the opportunity for right-arm seamer Tinu Yohannan to play in his third Test, having impressed with the ball in the three-day tour match against Central Districts earlier this month.
India coach John Wright wants his batsmen to have greater self-belief after their disappointing performance in Wellington.
"You don't become a bad player overnight and I still believe the New Zealand cricket fan wants to see this [Indian] team batting [well]," he said. "And that's what we will try to do in this match."
But the former Kiwi Test player does not want the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman to curb their natural, attacking strokeplay.
"We have a style of play and to ask them to play more conservatively is dangerous," he said.
"I don't think Rahul, Sachin or Saurav [Ganguly] would have achieved what they have in world cricket if they'd played conservatively -- and I don't intend to change that."
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