The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ross plays down Fleming allegations

Cuttack: Stephen Fleming may have flayed the scheduling of the ongoing triangular series saying it was aimed to suit the hosts but coach Ashley Ross on Wednesday dismissed the skipper’s remarks “as personal observations”.

“I think it’s important to understand that any complaint has to come from New Zealand Cricket (NZC). What Stephen has said was his own observation which was supported by Ricky Ponting as well. What we are looking forward to now is playing a great Indian side tomorrow,” Ross said after an hour’s nets in the evening.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has, however, refuted the allegations saying he should target NZC for okaying the itinerary.

The visitors are not complaining any more and even the delayed arrival of their kits hasn’t irked them. Rather, they are looking at the positives emerging out of the disputes.

“Professional athletes don’t concern themselves with things that are out of their reach. These things don’t worry us. As soon as the kits arrived, we were ready to train under lights, something which even the Indians haven’t,” the coach remarked.

Even the lack of practice in Mumbai on Tuesday, since security arrangements could not be made in a hurry, has not irritated the visiting coach.

“Our preparations have not been hampered in anyway. The rigours of international cricket is such that rest is always welcome. So it’s really a matter of trusting in your preparations and trusting in yourself,” Ross explained.

The successive defeats to Australia have not affected their morale, insisted the coach. “The way we turned around from 21 for four to reach 258 in our previous game in Pune was outstanding.

The important thing is we are gaining momentum. I’m sure we will get some good conditions here and that will bring the best out of the boys.”

Ross conceded that the absence of Nathan Astle was being felt but it has also

brought the best out of the team. “We’ve shown that even when the top-order players are missing, we’re going to be very competitive. We nearly beat the world champions and the match was decided in the last over,” he remarked.

The coach admitted they were under pressure but added: “Top or bottom of the table doesn’t really matter. What we have to try and do is fire on all cylinders. We’ve set our eyes on the immediate task ahead of us, that is to play India and hopefully come up with a great performance.”

The fielding in Pune has left the team management disappointed and they are hoping to make amends. “Certainly we’re disappointed dropping two vital chances. But it was a mistake and I’m sure we’ll come up with a better display tomorrow night.”

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