Thursday, 20 March 2008

Fleming's last match

Stephen Fleming's debut against India in 1994 didn't feel that long ago, until I looked at who he played alongside in that game - Kapil Dev, Blair Hartland, Ken Rutherford, Mark Greatbatch and Shane Thomson - then it felt a generation ago.

Of course Sachin Tendulkar - born the same month in the same year as Fleming - had already been playing for five years by the time that game came around, and he bought up his 2000th test run in India's first innings. Tendulkar is still not only playing, but he looks like he could go on for another decade.

Fleming is not going to go on for another decade. He is in fact down to his last five days. So here is a bit of space to remember some of his finest moments. Here are my best memories:

1) His 134 not out against South Africa in the 2003 World Cup - watched in the early hours of the morning from the world's crummiest motel room in Hamilton.
2) His 274 not out against Sri Lanka that same year.
3) His mauling of Murali in the Tsunami matches in 2005. Facing both Murali and Shane Warne bowling in tandem, Fleming smashed 106 off 57 balls.
4) His captaincy during the 2001/2 series against Australia, particularly that off-side trap for Damien Martyn.
5) His "sharing of captaincy thoughts" with Graeme Smith in 2004.

Pop into the comments section and add your own memories.


Sportsfreak said...

Good piece. Telling that 2 of your top 5 memories there are for captaincy rather than batting, and one of the batting memories was in a “friendly”.

Here is how we reviewed his career a few weeks back,

A good batsman, but a better leader.

The Aussie-style run-out of Murali when he went to hug Sangakarra 18 months ago was another highlight.

Suhas said...

Some other memories:

1. 90 on his ODI debut at Napier, in which he shared a matchwinning stand with Shane Thompson against India. Actively supported NZ against my home country ever since.

2. 116* in the last game of the tri-series down under in 1997-98, against the Aussies - great way to end a tough tour.

3. Planning the mental disintegration of Graeme Smith in 2004.

4. His captaincy (and form) during the 1999 tests in India. I remember Saurav Ganguly calling him the best overseas defensive player of spin at the time.

5. Hitting Deighton Butler for a hat trick of sixes in 2006