Fleming slams organisers of TVS tri-series

Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2003, 21:40 [IST]
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New Delhi: New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has lashed out at the scheduling of the Limited Overs series being played in India, saying it favoured the hosts. The tourists are critical that all matches between Australia and New Zealand have early morning starts, where seaming conditions favour the team bowling first, while India play only day-night games. Fleming, whose hopes of making the final nose-dived after losing two day games against Australia, alleged the schedule was fixed to suit India.

"It's a case of two competitions going on," he said Tuesday. "Australia and us play one competition where it seams around and it's tough to bat, and India play another one where it gets slower and slower and turns."They've got it wrong, you can't start this early with wickets like this, there's no point. "We've been on the wrong side of it twice and it makes the next game a lottery as well," an angry Kiwi captain said. New Zealand's top order slumped twice against Australia after the 9 am (local time) starts, reduced to 21-5 after electing to take first strike in Faridabad last week and 21-4 after being sent to bat in Pune on Monday.

The third league match between the two at Guwahati on Sunday will start half-an-hour earlier at 8.30 am due to the early sunset in North-Eastern parts of India. Fleming revealed that both he and Australian captain Ricky Ponting were unhappy at the scheduling, but decided against making an official complaint to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). "We can complain, but it won't matter. It will fall on deaf ears because India are not playing," he said.

"So much rides on the toss. At least in New Zealand it seams for 100 overs, here it seams for 25 and after that it's a belter." Ponting, whose world champion side is assured of playing the November 18 day-night final at Calcutta after three wins in four games, agreed the early starts made it difficult for batsmen before the wickets dried out. "I was telling some of our guys that the wickets at both Faridabad and Pune would have been ideal for day-night games after they got a few hours to dry out," he said. "India are trying to better their wickets for the standard of their own cricket but they've just left too much juice in them for One-day cricket. "When you're starting at that time of the morning it's bound to swing, and the wickets have had life in them which is tough for the side batting first," Ponting said.

A BCCI spokesman said both Australia and New Zealand had been given the itinerary a month before the series began on October 23, but neither team had complained. New Zealand must win both their remaining day-night games against India, at Cuttack on Thursday and Hyderabad on November 15, to have a chance of playing in the final. India, whose opening encounter against New Zealand at Madras was washed out, beat Australia at Gwalior before losing the second match against the world champions at Bombay last Saturday.

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