Monday, March 18, 2013

My Favorite Players - Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming - New Zealand

Stephen Fleming became the captain of New Zealand at a tender age of around 23 years. From the beginning it became clear to everyone who saw him that he was a born leader. New Zealand prospered under his astute captaincy. He was aggressive and was a brilliant tactician. A shrewd mind, he made optimum use of the resources available to him. He led the Kiwi team for a record number of times and is their most successful captain of all time.

His batting though, always left a lot to be desired and he never achieved what he could have with his abundant talent. Perhaps it was the added burden of captaining an ordinary team, we will never know. He was particularly strong off his pads but I mostly remember the shots he played straight down the ground with great joy. He played the ball so straight that when he played the shot I would get the feeling that it would crash into the stumps at the bowlers end but the ball would, almost miraculously, miss them and then bisect the mid-on/mid-off fielders and race away to the boundary. He was also a fabulous timer of the cricket ball, on most occasions he would just time the ball never trying to hit it hard.

My favorite Stephen Fleming moment came on the occasion of my 18th birthday when he scored a sublime 134* to down a rampaging South African side in the 2003 World Cup which was being played in South Africa. Chasing a revised target of 229 to win in 39 overs the Black caps won comfortably by 9 wickets!! I remember watching the full game even though my 12th standard board exams were going on at that time!

Stephen Fleming - New Zealand
Stephen Fleming on the right after the memorable captains
 innings which defeated South Africa

He played 111 tests and scored over 7000 runs at an average of just over 40. He scored just 9 centuries even though he passed 50 55 number of times!! In ODI cricket he scored over 8000 runs in 280 matches. He made 8 tons but passed 50 57 number of times. Thus he passed 50 112 times (Test Matches and ODI's combined) but could only convert 17 of them into a 100 plus innings. That has to be the worst conversion rate for someone who played over a 100 tests and who opened the batting for his team for most of his career.

A captain is a man who can get the best out of each and every team-mate, who not only has the respect of his own team mates but also the adulation of opponents, who cops the flak when the team loses but lets the team bask in glory when it wins and stays humble, someone who is happy even in a loss knowing that his team gave all they had in the tank, someone who has a charismatic personality, one who is media friendly... Stephen Fleming was one such captain who had all these qualities in abundance.

PS - To Read Other Posts From The Segment 'My Favorite Players', Click On The Following Link - My Favorite Players


Vishal Rathod said...

One of my fav players. Loved to see him bat

Travel India

asteria's canvass said...

his game tactics aside ,i still find him one of the most good looking captain in cricket,daniel vettori is cute but he is handsome..:)

Anonymous said...

he was a great player ,
the way carried newzeland team was great.
now newzeland needs another fleming to get back on track.
i also write on cricket check out my website.

C Suresh said...

Yes - that was the Stephen Fleming I know - the man who converted an ordinary side into world=beaters.

Anunoy Samanta said...

I always had a soft corner for him... wish he was more consistent as a batsman :)

ra said...

i remember when he was the captain for NZ in 1996 world cup .. i still cherish those memories for the wonderful cricket his team played..!

T F Carthick said...

Nice. It is always a challenge managing a New Zealand side given the limited pool of resources.

Sreedev Soman said...

one of the good players from New Zealand

Sreedev Soman @ KookyDom

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite players too. Classy elegant batting style, and a great captain. I remember him scoring 23 runs in an over by Chetan Sharma. No wild slogs, every shot was well placed and timed.