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September 23, 2008
Stephen Fleming, the former New Zealand captain, has committed to Wellington for their Twenty20 campaign in February 2009. Fleming, who retired after the home series against England in March 2008, is presently a board member of Cricket Wellington. Fleming will become the first to play for the team while also a member.
"Securing the services of a player of the international stature and calibre of Stephen Fleming is a coup for the State Wellington Firebirds and exciting news for cricket in Wellington," Cricket Wellington chief executive Gavin Larsen said. "Stephen's experience and ability will be invaluable to the Firebirds' State Twenty20 campaign.
If Wellington win the tournament, Fleming could be in line to play in the 2009 Champions League. "In addition to my continuing involvement in the IPL tournament in India over the next two years, I am thrilled at the prospect of being part of a successful Firebirds team in the upcoming domestic Twenty20 competition," he said. "I firmly believe that we have what it takes to win this competition.
"With the winner of this competition potentially qualifying for the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 competition in late 2009, it's an added incentive. It's an exciting challenge, and I look forward to playing a leading role for the Firebirds this summer."
Fleming took part in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League; his team, Chennai Super Kings, made it to the final and qualified for the Champions League later this year. However, he only scored 196 runs from ten games without a fifty.
However, Fleming is unlikely to take part in one-dayers for Wellington. "I thought a lot about the one-dayers but it came down to a question of how much I could commit to, and the last thing I wanted to see happen was me becoming a disruption," Fleming told the Dominion Post. "If things work out really well, you never know, but I can't really see it."
Fleming is currently involved in his own sports management business, and will be playing the Champions League in December. He has also signed for a beach cricket series to be held in Australia in January 2009.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.