Stephen Fleming: not letting a mystery illness get him down © AFP
Stephen Fleming has made it to Australia with his New Zealand side, but is still uncertain of playing the first Test, which begins on November 18. A mystery virus has laid him low, and according a report filed by the news agency, NZPA, he has been sleeping for up to 20 hours a day.

Fleming said that he would play if he could attain a fitness level of 75 to 80%. "A number of our players haven't experienced a Test match in Australia," he said, "that's why it's important to get back. I'll leave it pretty late. I'll give John [Bracewell, New Zealand's coach] and the team an honest indication all the way through. I would expect the team will know the day before the Test."

To cover for him, Craig McMillan will be travelling to Brisbane with the team. Fleming picked up his illness during the Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, and it hasn't yet been diagnosed. "It was nothing more than dehydration then I got home and it was unbelievable fatigue - 20-hours-a-day sort of sleep, I couldn't keep the eyes open. It sounds like a good illness to have but it was pretty debilitating. We're no closer to finding out what it was."

He had a 15-minute net session on Friday, trying to get back into his rhythm. "I was a lot more comfortable after completing that," he said. "It was seven days doing nothing so I was pretty nervous but I came away pretty good. I'm getting better every day. I'll train today and have a rest day tomorrow and then look to train pretty hard. It's the mental side you lose when you're down and out and I have to make sure I'm right to lead the side."

Fleming played down the significance of his side's tour opener, in which they were heavily beaten by New South Wales. "It was a pretty typical tour opener when you come to Australia," he said. "First-class cricket in Australia leads the way. You're almost playing another Test when you play a state side. It's a tough challenge and we obviously haven't responded that well. It's obviously not ideal.

"As captain, I've got concerns, the team's got concerns, but I'm extremely excited about the opportunity. One on one we're no match for Australia but we've always been at our best when we've got that team dynamic."

Fleming said that he would be contributing to the team even if he didn't play. "I'd like to think it [his role] will be a strong one. I've been in the position of gathering information in the last week and a half before I hit the sack - it did give me the opportunity to gain some information to give to John. I feel I can be a major player even if I don't get to play."