Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 24 News List

Former Kiwi skipper Fleming to quit Test cricket next month

CLASS ACT The left-handed batsman has played more Test matches than any other New Zealander and captained his country to 28 victories, more than any other skipper


Stephen Fleming plays a shot on the first day of the second Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand, on Jan. 12.


Record-breaking former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming announced yesterday he will retire from international cricket after the third and final Test against England next month.

The country's premier batsman said it would be better for his family if he quit before the return tour to England in May and June.

Fleming, 34, New Zealand's most experienced Test player and leading run-scorer, quit the one-day game after last year's World Cup and said then he would soon retire from all international cricket.

"The time is right for me and my family to do that now," Fleming told a press conference in Auckland.

"Retiring before the tour to England will allow me to be with [wife] Kelly for the birth of our second child and I'm excited about pursuing new business opportunities," he said.

Fleming said he would also be available for the high-profile Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition slated to start in April.

England batting linchpin Kevin Pietersen said Fleming's tactical acumen would be sorely missed on the Test circuit.

"He's respected around the world, he's a fantastic cricketer, a fantastic leader, one of the best who have played the game captaincy-wise," said Pietersen, who is touring New Zealand with the England side.

"It's great playing against Flem as well because you always know he's thinking about how to get you out," he said. "He's always testing and challenging you and that's what you want as an international sportsman. He's been the best captain in the world for a long time."

Daniel Vettori, who succeeded Fleming as New Zealand skipper, said his place in New Zealand's cricket history was assured.

"He's going to be remembered as one of our greats. He's been instrumental in a lot of our success over the years through his captaincy, his performance with the bat and his fielding," he said.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said moves were afoot to make sure Fleming was not lost to New Zealand cricket.

"I'm sure we have not seen the last of him and we are working to ensure he has a role within cricket in New Zealand in the future," Vaughan said.

Fleming leaves the international arena having played more Tests (108) than any other New Zealander, scored the most runs (6,875), taken the most catches (166), captained the most games (80), and led the side to the most wins (28).

Throughout his Test career, Fleming only scored nine centuries but compiled 43 half-centuries for a Test average of 39.73.

He also played 280 one-day internationals since making his debut in 1994 and was captain 218 times.

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