India will try to make it hard for us, says Fleming

Published: Saturday, September 6, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: Anticipating a tit-for-tat response, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming today said his cricket team has the "character" to take up the challenge even if India prepared spin-friendly tracks for the upcoming Test series. "There seems to be a real determination from India to make it as hard as possible for us, after what happened here last summer. If that's the case we'll respond pretty well because there's a lot of character within the side," Fleming said.

Though the Indian Cricket Board has said that it will prepare "sporting tracks" for the series, starting later this month, there is a strong feeling that New Zealand could be made to play on spinning tracks after they routed India on under-prepared pitches during a tour late last year. Fleming, who returned home yesterday after finishing a stint with English county side Yorkshire, seemed unperturbed over the prospect of playing in anything but extremely unfavourable conditions in India. "I can't understand some of the comment, to be honest," he said. "It's as if they're saying, 'Wait till we get you over here.

We're going to prepare slow, dry, turning tracks.' Well, what's new?," Fleming was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald website Fleming was also critical of the remarks made by the Indians last summer blaming the pitches for the heavy defeats in New Zealand in both the Test as well as One-day series. "It was that sort of attitude that made me laugh last summer. The conditions here weren't good - they were extreme - but considering India's history of pitch preparation, they didn't have a lot to complain about," said Fleming.

He said New Zealand were a resilient side which had climbed the Test-ranking ladder through their ability to adjust to foreign conditions and make the best use of the resources at hand.Though he expects the tour to be tough, Fleming cited the success in the West Indies and Sri Lanka as evidence of the team's growing ability to be a threat on foreign soil.

"It's the toughest tour you can go on, and at the same time it has the possibility of being one of the most rewarding," he said. "The good news for us is that conditions shouldn't be overly different to Sri Lanka, where we learned a lot on our last tour - especially in terms of combating slow bowling, and developing our own. We've taken a bit of confidence from that."

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