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July 26, 2009
Richard Hadlee, the former New Zealand chairman of selectors, has criticised Stephen Fleming's relationship with the coaches he worked with, saying he "tended to overshadow and almost downgraded the profile and role of the coach".
Hadlee said when Fleming first became captain he "relied heavily" on the coach Steve Rixon but began asserting himself thereafter. According to Hadlee, the next coach David Trist was happy to see Fleming assume major focus as a leader but when Denis Aberhart took over, Fleming seemed to manipulate situations to suit his views.
"Stephen did not rate Denis as a coach, probably because Denis had never been an international player," Hadlee wrote in his new book Changing Pace: A Memoir, as reported in the Sunday Star Times. "Stephen, who was quite confident of his abilities as a captain at that stage of his career, gave me the impression that he was able to manipulate situations to his own advantage, especially with regards to selections and where he wanted to bat."
According to Hadlee, Fleming's relationship with John Bracewell, who coached New Zealand between 2003 and 2008, was "mixed". "They were both strong personalities with clear ideas about how to move the team forward. Initially, they developed a wonderful and successful relationship, but that may have soured towards the end of Stephen's career.
"Perhaps Stephen felt he was being undermined by Bracewell and the selectors. There was a huge shift from the selectors in terms of wanting more from the players in both personal and team performances. Results were not good enough and too inconsistent. Perhaps Stephen felt interference when losing some of his right-hand men. After all, these were friends he'd come to rely on before they were dropped."
Hadlee also said the selectors felt Fleming had a tendency to favour some players ahead of others. He also criticised the peer assessment programme that Bracewell introduced to the national side and said younger players used it "to say what they really thought of a player or a support staff member but often this was without having too much knowledge about that person or their role in the team - some highly personal issues were raised and that did not sit comfortably with some players or management".
"There appeared to be too many put-downs and many felt they had been put through the wringer and were left with a shattered perception of themselves and others. There were suggestions that some senior players retired prematurely because they did not enjoy, or even see a need for, the Leading Teams concept - and that may be so."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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