Gilchrist backs Fleming on playing conditions

Published: Thursday, November 6, 2003, 1:17 [IST]
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New Delhi: Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist on Wednesday backed New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming's views on unfavourable conditions in the ongoing tri-series and asked administrators to bring "level playing field" to Limited Overs cricket internationals. Gilchrist, while denying there was "too much sinister" on the part of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in scheduling matches in the triangular series, agreed with Fleming that playing conditions in some matches were at variance and toss of the coin played too crucial a role.

"I certainly agree to the point that toss has played a major role in certain matches. Fortunately for us, we have been on the winning side but it could be frustrating if important games are too reliant on toss," Gilchrist said. "Stephen Fleming has a relevant point when he says there must be level playing field, because there has been unfair variance (in playing conditions) in some of the matches. Otherwise, I don't think there is too much sinister in what the BCCI has done," the swashbuckling Aussie batsman added.

Fleming was critical of the match schedule in the current series that pitted Australia and New Zealand in day encounters, which started at 09.00 hours (IST). Fleming said morning starts meant moisture in the air made things difficult for the team batting first. He also accused the tournament organisers of drawing an itinerary that suited the hosts more than the other two teams. Gilchrist said Fleming's outburst was understandable because he had been at the receiving end twice. "Having played in the same matches, I can identify myself with Stephen (Fleming). Probably it is the frustration of having been at the receiving end," the Aussie opening batsman said.

In their second match of the series against Australia at Faridabad, New Zealand were dismissed for 97 after winning the toss and electing to bat. They were off to a disastrous start again in the next encounter, against the Aussies in another day match at Pune, but recovered from 151 for seven to post 258 for nine. Australia went on to win that nail-biter by two wickets. "New Zealand have played remarkably well. In fact, I told Fleming that these are conditions you don't expect in India. There has been good bounce and grass, the ball has been swinging and seaming.

I don't think that is something to complain about, these are conditions like at home," Gilchrist said. Australia next play New Zealand in Guwahati on Sunday when play will start at 08.30 hours (IST)to make up for early sunset in the Northeast region.

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