Colombo: New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming on Sunday said his team was under no pressure to defend its title in the upcoming Champions Trophy tournament here. "We are under no pressure and are looking forward to the tournament with a high degree of confidence," Fleming told reporters.
New Zealand is the defending champions after beating India in the final in Nairobi two years ago. The Kiwis open their campaign with a game against world champions Australia next Sunday. Fleming said that the change in the format of this year's event was of no concern. "You are expected to win every game to win a trophy," he said. The tournament is being held here from September 12 on a league-cum-knock out format whereas the previous two editions were held on a knock out basis. The New Zealand captain said New Zealand would miss all-rounder Chris Cairns, who is out with a knee injury. "It is now up to a younger player to come forward and grab that chance," Fleming said. It was Cairns' heroics that enabled the Kiwis to annex the ICC Trophy in Nairobi in October 2000. The New Zealand all-rounder scored 102 not out off 113 balls to ensure a famous Kiwi victory after Saurav Ganguly's century had given India a head start in the final. Fleming said the team had its hopes pinned on younger players like Scott Styris and Shane Bond. The New Zealanders are in pool 1 along with Australia and Bangladesh. New Zealand: Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Chris Harris, Paul Hitchcock, Kyle Mills, Chris Nevin, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Glen Sulzberger, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent; Jeff Crowe (coach), Denis Aberhart (manager).
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