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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Stephen Fleming

After playing an innings like this, you
feel like you are respected: Fleming

February 17, 2003

Stephen FlemingA target of 307 in 50 overs is an intimidating one, for any team. But on Saturday, Stephen Fleming played a once-in-a-lifetime innings to lead his team to a stunning victory over hosts South Africa in the World Cup.

The Proteans were too shocked to react, but Assistant Editor Faisal Shariff sought out the New Zealand captain after the match for an interview.

You have come through two sudden-death matches? Are you satisfied with the way the team is faring?

Some aspects of our game still need to be worked upon but I guess we are still alive. We dug very deep and on a very good wicket did very well. This afternoon, after the first innings, we were looking to flying home. So there was a huge sigh of relief after the win.

New Zealand has never won a match against South Africa in South Africa. How much of a bearing did that have going into this match?

We have had some great games against them. The last series we played here, Zulu (Lance Klusener) knocked us out of the game. But we knew we could put up a fight. Last year, we had some close games. Crossing that line was the big hurdle, and (today) we did it.

Is this your best innings yet?

Yes it is. There was a lot on line. As captain I had to make a mark. I haven't had great performances in the World Cup and it was an emotional moment for me. But as a player to win the game is even more exciting. You feel that you are respected and feel good about yourself after playing an innings like this. You feel a lot better about yourself and make better decisions when you are confident.

You have not had a very successful stint as opener so far.

I enjoy it. While it is not easy in New Zealand, on good wickets it is the best opportunity to get runs. And if you can get through the first 4-5 overs, as Nathan Astle has showed us, you can then settle down and bat for the best part of the innings. And that is what interests me.

Was Mark Boucher's dropped catch the turning point of the match?

It was a big moment. A moment I was grateful for. It was at a time when the things were getting a little bit loose, and that often happens when you are chasing a big score. We were aware that two or three wickets in a row then and the game would have been over. It was a very good reminder to me that I could bat through.

Were you targeting any specific bowler?

No. We picked all their bowlers. One of the strengths of SA is the pattern they use and that has been successful. We tried to identify the pattern that Shaun Pollock would use and identify stages in the game that would give us opportunities.

Stephen FlemingCan New Zealand win the World Cup?

This team believes that they can win the Cup. But if you had asked this question in the morning, the answer would have been a tentative yes. But this (victory) has done a lot of good for us. 

Your performance as a player has been under scrutiny for some time now.

A player is judged on his own personal statistics. One name that comes to mind is Mike Brearley, one of the greatest leaders of England. I respect and have read a lot about Mike Brearley. But he always had a question mark over his playing abilities. I would love to add a few more numbers to my statistics so I don't run the risk of having that tag as well.

Your philosophy as skipper

My philosophy is to involve everyone. It is not rocket science but I want to make the fifteenth person feel just as important about a decision as the first. When a plan is put into place that the fifteenth player had an input into he feels pretty good about it.

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 16

Sub: That is what I call Captain's Knock..

NZ Captain's innings was one of the best we have ever seen. He played almost 90% of his shots close to his body rather than ...

Posted by DJ

Sub: cricket

i want to tell mr.saurav ganduly (ganguly) to watch the game between sa and newzealand and look what is the real captain inngs play by ...

Posted by sammy


Guys, Gimme a break. If we are viewing the greatness of a person in one innings... then I feel Kaif is the best in India/World. ...

Posted by Kal

Sub: amazing.........

the match was an amazing one.every ball was faced with utter braveness.fleming is great,he is really great.best wishes n goodluck.

Posted by sandyareddy

Sub: congrats bravo

What we need to look at is that a team who had never won a match in SA, had a pattern of low scores in ...

Posted by Prakash


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