Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Vettori replaces Fleming as New Zealand skipper


Stephen Fleming's 10-year reign as one of world cricket's most admired Test captains ended yesterday when he was replaced as New Zealand skipper by his former deputy Daniel Vettori.

At the same time, Fleming announced his retirement from limited-overs cricket after leading his country to 98 wins in 218 matches over the past decade. No player in cricket history has captained his national team more often in the one-day game.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan paid tribute to Fleming as New Zealand's "greatest captain," but said it was the organization's decision to switch the Test, one-day and Twenty20 captaincy to Vettori, who is six years Fleming's junior.

"The selectors are looking to the future and have recommended that Daniel assume captaincy of the Test team as well as the one-day team," Vaughan said from South Africa.

"Daniel has demonstrated real leadership during his time with the [New Zealand team] and through his occasional performances as one-day captain, has shown he is ready to take over captaincy ... in all forms of the game," he said.

Fleming, 34, led New Zealand to 28 wins and 25 draws during his term as captain. Elevated to the captaincy in 1997, three years after making his Test debut aged 20, he led the team in 80 of his 104 Tests.

While debate has raged over Fleming's standing as a batsman both in New Zealand and world terms -- he has scored more Test runs than any other New Zealander but only nine centuries in 177 Test innings -- his acumen as a captain has been widely praised.

Fleming said while he had made the decision to retire immediately from the one-day game, after previously stepping down as New Zealand's one-day captain, he hoped to continue playing Tests in the near future. He added the coming New Zealand summer is likely to be his last at the top level.

"I am fully committed to the [New Zealand team] and New Zealand Cricket but feel that the time is right for me to retire from the one-day game," he said.

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