New Zealand v Bangladesh 2007-08 / News

'If we're tentative, they'll put up a fight'

Beware of Bangladesh - Fleming

Cricinfo staff

December 24, 2007

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Stephen Fleming: "It feels very tentative with the [New Zealand] batting unit - there's been a lot of focus on it, the performances haven't been great and with that comes a certain amount of tension" © AFP
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Stephen Fleming has warned New Zealand not to take Bangladesh for granted in the upcoming ODI and Test series. Fleming, the former New Zealand captain, was leading the New Zealand Cricket XI that lost to the Bangladeshis in a charity Twenty20 game in Hamilton.

"If we're tentative, they'll put up a fight," he told the New Zealand Herald after the game. Fleming, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup but is still part of New Zealand's Test team, highlighted the Bangladesh batsmen as the key threat. "They've got good strokemakers," he said. "There's not a lot of fear in some of their players and on their day they can come off - we've seen that in some of the upsets they've caused at World Cups."

Fleming also contrasted the approach of the Bangladesh batsmen with that of New Zealand. "Their batting is probably almost the opposite of where our batting unit is," Fleming admitted. "They seem full of confidence, and they don't really have a lot of fear. The consequence of them playing a bad shot and getting out doesn't seem to be there."

New Zealand's batsmen haven't had a great run of late; Dale Steyn decimated the line-up with 20 wickets in the two Tests in South Africa, and barring one ODI in Port Elizabeth, their batsmen have generally failed to cope. "It feels very tentative with the batting unit - there's been a lot of focus on it, the performances haven't been great and with that comes a certain amount of tension.

"Coming into the side, you could feel that, the ways the guys played. We have to get away from that and try and stamp some authority with the willow in hand." The match on Sunday was Fleming's first competitive game after the Tests in South Africa, during which he had dislocated his thumb. Fleming, who made 17, but was not his fluent self, said, "I felt like a fish out of water. It was all a bit foreign. I was pretty nervous after six weeks without playing so things are pretty green at the moment."

Bangladesh, who haven't won an ODI or Test against New Zealand, play the first of the three-match ODI series on Boxing Day in Auckland. The two-Test series, in which Fleming is to play, begins in Dunedin on January 4.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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