Fleming hoping for final ton

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Last Updated: 19/03/08 9:31am

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Fleming: Deadpan

Fleming: Deadpan

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Stephen Fleming is hoping that his final Test for New Zealand will bring a century and with it a series victory against England.

"There will be a lump in my throat when I walk off for the last time but just for the reasons that there should be."
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The former Black Caps skipper will play his 111th Test at Napier this weekend and, with the series poised at 1-1, Fleming is hoping to make a real contribution to proceedings rather than bid a protracted farewell.

Speaking on Wednesday, the 34-year-old said his approach heading into the match would still be one of looking to improve on every aspect of his game.

"Certainly during my time I have given everything and tried to be as good as I can be," he said. "I think I'm an achiever rather than a good or great player, I've been able to achieve through longevity.

"There are aspects of my play that I'll always look back on and think what if I'd been better at this or more skilled at that?

"The whole time I've tried to get better and there's nothing different in this last Test. I'd love to finish with a hundred or I'd love to finish with a substantial score that helps us win the series."

Goals

Fleming's Test career has included a record 171 catches, plus 7,047 runs and nine centuries.

Ahead of the current series Fleming set himself two goals - to pass 7,000 Test runs, which he did during the previous Test in Wellington, and score another century.

If he achieves the latter he is also likely to finish with a career average above 40 - widely regarded as the measure of a good Test batsman.

However, Fleming insists that his main aim will be to help New Zealand score victory rather than secure his own place in the record book.

"What is important is that if I'd have averaged 45 the team might have won more games," he added. "It's not about me getting a badge of honour with 40 on my chest to wear for the rest of my life.

"But if I can get it above 40 it means I'll have scored another hundred and we've got a score that enables us to put pressure on England."

Emotion

Fleming - who has signed to play in the Indian Premier League for three years - also said he would try and leave emotions to one side and attempt to treat the game much like any other.

"I'm not really an emotional bloke," he added. "There will be a lump in my throat when I walk off for the last time but just for the reasons that there should be.

"People have talked to me about the last game, the last innings and what I've tried to do in this series is be very deadpan about it and treat it for what it is and I'm going to try and do that for this last game.

"I'm not very good at following the goals I've set but I've tried to get into them. That is the focus to try and get away from the emotional side of Test cricket and the other thing is we're in a hell of a good battle with an England side at 1-1.

"Being able to play this type of cricket in this type of competition has helped, it's a good series to finish with."

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