Fleming for reviewing 50-over game

Former Kiwi skipper says reducing overs could take the game forward

WATCHFUL EYES: India Cements coach Stephen Fleming (left) and Lakshmipathi Balaji during a practice session. DH photo

Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming joined the league, saying a decision on one-day cricket needed to be taken soon.

“I have said for a long while that one-day cricket is under threat from T20 cricket. I can see that from the sponsorship point of view and viewers’ point of view and TV rights. So a time will come soon when a decision has to be made,” Fleming said here on Thursday.

The Chennai Super Kings coach, here coaching India Cements in the Corporate Trophy, said 40-over-a-side game could be the way forward. “I have played county cricket for a few years, and I liked the 40-over format (Pro40). Fifty overs still has its place, but 40 overs is another option when the game goes forward besides the T20 cricket. The 40-over game just takes the boring part out of the middle stages, ensuring a quick top-half and exciting finishes. So it’s a fair comprimise,” he noted.

However, Fleming said the forthcoming tri-series in Colombo, involving India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, could see some intense competition. “Sri Lanka are an excellent side. They have some very good players and I am surprised they have not done better in one-day cricket. India are, of course, a good one-day side and New Zealand are better in the one-day format. The Kiwis will be underdogs, but I am sure we will see a close tournament,” he noted.

Fleming put New Zealand’s patchy batting display in the recently concluded Test series in Sri Lanka down to lack of experience. “There is no senior or experienced batsman in the side, and it is not possible for a young group short on experience to travel overseas and start performing immediately,” the former Kiwi skipper pointed out.

The India Cements coach expected a tough outing for his wards. “Expectations are obviously high. From my point of view, it is all about getting to know some good players, possibly for the CSK. “We also have Rahul Dravid in our side and some players from the IPL, so this is a pretty exciting squad with a lot of balance. I am excited to be involved in a tournament with even balance.”

The India Cements team appears the most thoroughly prepared and professional outfit. Apart from bringing Fleming on board, they also have Super Kings and former India physical trainer Greg King and former Australian stumper Steve Rixon as part of the coaching/support staff in a bid to maximise the immense potential in their ranks.

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