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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Tougher task now, says Fleming

Craig Ray | January 31, 2003 18:46 IST

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming accepts his side faces a tougher task after forfeiting their World Cup match against Kenya in Nairobi.

New Zealand Cricket announced on Friday that their team would not travel to Kenya to honour the February 21 fixture because of concerns over security.

New Zealand have been widely tipped to progress to the semi-finals, but by forfeiting the match against Kenya, who they were expected to beat easily, the pressure to win their first three matches has increased.

By forfeiting the game they have lost the opportunity to earn four points for a win.

"It changes the landscape of the cup quite a bit," Fleming said. "It all comes down to our first three games now."

They play Sri Lanka on February 10, West Indies on February 13 and South Africa on February 16.

"The results in those games will dictate our progress in the tournament," Fleming said.

But there were no regrets about making the decision not to go to Kenya, according to coach Jeff Crowe.

"We took the team interests to heart and the interests of the players are paramount," Crowe said. "Last year in Karachi was too close for comfort."

A terrorist bomb outside the team hotel during their tour to Pakistan prompted the cancellation of the rest of the itinerary.

Meanwhile, New Zealand received a boost with the news that all-rounder Chris Cairns is nearing full fitness after a knee injury.

"I'm nearly there and it's been a real physical battle to get ready for the World Cup," he said.

"It has been more frustrating than anything else, but there are 10 days to go to the first game and I'm getting closer to full fitness all the time."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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