The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pressure is on us to perform: Fleming

Auckland: New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming Tuesday admitted that after the success in the Test series, the pressure was on his team to do well in the one- dayers and said his bowlers will find it more difficult to contain Indian batsmen in the shorter version of the game.

‘We have to perform. We are not the most in-form batting unit there has been, but we have some good one-day players. The pressure is on us to perform,” Fleming said ahead of the first of the seven one-day Internationals here on Thursday.

The New Zealand skipper was, naturally, very happy with his bowlers and said his pacemen had given tremendous confidence to the team.

“I think the bowlers feel pretty good about themselves against these batsmen and because of it the team too feels confident.

“Our bowlers have a good enough chance to keep (themselves) on top of the Indians ... But keeping an edge on these players is going to be very difficult,” he said.

But Fleming felt a lot of improvement was required in the batting department. “Our working singles off spinners is pretty poor. We need to have general efficiency in every department,” he said.

In the past one year, only Chris Cairns, Stephen Fleming and Craig McMillan have averaged better than 30 in one-day Internationals.

Even New Zealand’s most successful one-day batsman Nathan Astle could average just 27.15.

Fleming said the inclusion of Jawagal Srinath and Anil Kumble in India’s one-day squad proved the Indians were looking to add experience to their bowling strength.

“They have had a lot of success and are quality bowlers, so if they are introduced by John Wright, that will introduce another dimension to their team,” he said.

“I guess that the benefit from our point of view is that we have seen a lot of them in one-day cricket. We have got footage and we know how to play them on paper, but doing that on the field against quality players is another thing.”

Fleming is looking to bat well as an opener in Thursday’s day-night game and improve his dismal record at the venue where he has scored only 395 runs from 18 games at an average of 23.24.

Eden Park groundsman Mark Perham is delighted with the way his portable pitch has come up for this game. The pitch has good grass cover which was drying off Tuesday in the heat of Auckland’s sun and promises good batting conditions by the time the match gets going.

Fleming too was delighted with the facilities and said his batsmen were screaming for good practice after miserable weather of the last few weeks. “It was good for us to get some practice and even on Christmas Day tomorrow, some of us would be doing work here at Eden Park.”

Meanwhile, Srinath and Kumble, alongwith allrounder Yuvraj Singh, joined the team Monday. The other inclusion, paceman Rakesh Patel who was added to the team alongwith Ashish Nehra after the second Test, is expected to join soon. (PTI)

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