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Itinerary aimed to suit India, alleges Fleming
- TRI-SERIES l BCCI says NZC agreed to schedule after discussions

New Delhi: New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has slammed the scheduling of the on-going triangular series, saying it was aimed to suit hosts India.

However, the BCCI refuted Fleming’s allegations, saying the New Zealand captain should target his own board which had given consent to the itinerary.

Fleming criticised the tournament organisers for making New Zealand and Australia play all the day matches in difficult conditions and said the morning starts had ruined his team’s prospects in the tri-series.

“They’ve got it wrong. You can’t start this early with wickets like this, there’s no point. We’ve been on the wrong side of it twice and it makes the next game a lottery too,” Fleming was quoted as saying in a New Zealand website on Tuesday.

“There are two competitions going on — one for us and Australia where it seams around and is tough to bat and India play another one where it gets lower and slower, then turns. I wonder who did that itinerary,” Fleming said.

However, BCCI secretary S. K. Nair said over phone from Bangalore that New Zealand’s itinerary was finalised after protracted discussions with New Zealand Cricket (NZC). “He (Fleming) should ask his own board (about the scheduling),” he said.

Nair said the New Zealand board was supposed to consult its players regarding the tour programme.

Rubbishing Fleming’s allegation, Nair said not all cricket stadiums in the country had floodlight facility and day-night encounters were scheduled on a “rotational basis”.

Fleming’s outburst comes a day after New Zealand’s two-wicket loss off the penultimate ball to Australia in Pune, which saw the Black Caps remain at the bottom of the table with three winless matches.

New Zealand were struggling at 68 for the loss of five wickets at one stage as the morning start provided a lot of assistance to the seam bowlers, but recovered to post a competitive 258 for nine.

But the story was quite different in Faridabad last Wednesday when they collapsed for a paltry 97 in 33.4 overs against the Australians who won by eight wickets. “So much rides on the toss. At least in New Zealand it seams for 100 overs, here it seams for 25 and after that it’s a belter,” Fleming said. “I’ve talked to Ricky Ponting and he’s not happy either, because we know how crucial the toss is.”

Ponting agreed the conditions were playing too big a part after he sent New Zealand in to bat in Pune and watched his paceman Brad Williams take the first four wickets on way to a career-best five for 53. “They’re trying to better their wickets for the standard of their own cricket but they’ve just left too much juice in them for one-day cricket,” Ponting said.

“When you are starting at that time of the morning it is bound to swing, and the wickets have had life in them which is tough for the side batting first,” he said. Fleming was angry at having to play another day match in Guwahati against Australia on Sunday where play was likely to start at 8.30 am due to the early sunset in the north-eastern region.

“We can complain but it falls on deaf ears because India aren’t playing,” he said.

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