Black Caps wait on Fleming

Former skipper believed to be contemplating early retirement

Last Updated: 11/02/08 12:16pm

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Fleming: Retirement plan

Fleming: Retirement plan

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New Zealand will respect Stephen Fleming's decision to quit international cricket if he brings forward his retirement to the end of the series with England.

"It (Stephen Fleming's expected retirement) doesn't surprise me and doesn't particularly concern me."
New Zealand coach John Bracewell Quotes of the week

The 34-year-old was thought to be retiring after the Black Caps' tour in England next summer, but it is now being reported that he will call it a day after the home Test series next month.

The retirement of the former skipper, with 104 Tests under his belt, would be another blow to New Zealand's Test side, following the loss of Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan and Shane Bond in the last couple of years.

Current skipper Daniel Vettori says that no-one would try and change Fleming's mind if he decided to call it a day sooner rather than later, with reports suggesting he could announce his decision next week.

"Stephen has always been strong in his thoughts and decisions and I don't think it will be my place to try and twist his arm," said Vettori.

Experience

"I know he's been through it with a lot of guys who have come up to him and told him they were going to retire and he's always found it difficult to try and get them to change their mind so I think that once Stephen makes his decision it will be final.

"I've played with Stephen for a long, long time and he's been such an instrumental part of the side and our success over the years.

"I don't know his decision at this stage and we hope he plays on for as long as he can, but we also understand that people at the age of 34 or 35 start reflecting on their careers and other things they want to do so we'll sit tight and wait for Stephen's decision."

Black Caps coach John Bracewell says he is not concerned with talk of Fleming retiring early, and sees it as a positive move for the younger players who could take the chance to prove themselves.

Positives

"My understanding was that Stephen wanted to go on and play the England series in England. But it doesn't surprise me and doesn't particularly concern me," Bracewell told The New Zealand Herald.

"It's always disappointing to lose experience, but it's also an exciting time for selectors to pick and see the development of youngsters.

"You've always got to pick 11, no matter who is there and I think the young men we've selected in this particular round so far have shown some great attributes for the international game.

"We're not deliberately closing the door and you don't get in a tangle about it. There are kids out there who want a crack."

The Kiwis host England in four more one-day internationals before the three-match Test series, which is scheduled to conclude in Napier on March 26.

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