The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fleming looking at ‘tough’ tie
- ‘Team responds better to Sourav as skipper’

Hyderabad: Stephen Fleming has not exactly gone back on his words, but has softened stance on the much talked about issue of playing conditions.

Mellowing down somewhat from his hard-hitting words on how conditions and schedules in India are so unfair on visitors, the New Zealand skipper said: “Every team should and does exploit home conditions. It is not different with us either.”

Elaborating, Fleming added: “In New Zealand, even we do the same. Only it has to be seen that wickets are not doctored.”

He avoided queries on the state of pitches when India toured his country in the end of 2002.

“The point to remember here is don’t reduce your strength when you are at home. Do what suits you better,” Fleming said on Thursday.

He added that India will have to “make adjustments and learn to play short balls” when they tour Australia later this year. “The level of competition on the domestic circuit in Australia is almost up to the Test level. That makes them such a force.”

Fleming made it clear that his team is wary of the kind of form Sachin Tendulkar is in. “Though India lost in Bangalore, we have taken note that he (Tendulkar) is in great nick. He is among the best and can be a crucial factor in any match.”

The New Zealand skipper had a word of praise for his India counterpart too. “The team responds better with Sourav (Ganguly) as captain. No doubt, he is a batsman of international quality and his presence takes a lot off Rahul Dravid.”

And though he should, Fleming refused to read too much in to the fact that India conceded as many 347 runs in what was supposed to be a crunch match in Bangalore on Tuesday, with lots at stake.

“There are two ways of looking at it. They did go for so many runs, but it also means they will come back harder at us. We are expecting them to do well. It will be a tough match for us.”

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