December 29, 2001

England looming bright on the Fleming radar

Successful New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming put the 2-0 National Bank series victory over Bangladesh behind him immediately today and started to concentrate on the Australian tri-series and, most importantly, the forthcoming England series.

Fleming was pleased with the way all areas of the game were handled by the home team but it wasn't as polished as he would have liked and that gives the side something to work on before their next campaign.

The Bangladeshis were not capable of giving New Zealand a thorough indication of how they were placed but the most positive thing to come out of the series for him was the way the side is continuing to try and play a good brand of cricket.

He signalled that would be how New Zealand attempted to play against England.

"The England tour for me is massive," the former Middlesex professional said in looking ahead.

The side now had some good options. Twelve months ago there were gaping holes in the side's make-up but now there were genuine options to be considered and he was excited by that.

That was being reflected in the way the players were looking to compete for places in the one-day side.

"I'm looking forward to the tri-series with excitement. A lot of guys want to perform for places. We are wanting to mix it with two very good sides.

"Shane Bond has definitely put his hand up and he adds a dimension we've been lacking," he said.

New Zealand had adopted something of a 'one-dayish' approach to its batting yesterday by working on running between the wickets with effect, he said.

The two State Shield games that all players will take part in before the side is named were really important to getting into the right frame of mind and all were looking forward to playing in the games.

"The series will give us an indication of where our one-day side is and an indication of what we have to do for the World Cup.

"It is a great time for it to happen," Fleming said.

The prospective absence of Nathan Astle from the side was a blow because the loss of any senior player was significant and in a way it was a positive thing that it happened now rather than before the England series.