Fleming lauds best-ever preprations for Cup success

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Georgetown (Guyana):Captain Stephen Fleming said meticulous planning over the past 12 months has helped New Zealand to become one of the front runners at the World Cup.

Fleming took over the captaincy in March 1997 and led the Black Caps to the semi-finals in 1999 and the Super Sixes in South Africa four years later.

The class of 2007 has so far maintained an unbeaten run in the Caribbean and is leading the Super Eights standings ahead of defending champions Australia on net run rate.

''The quality of play will come through (in any team) but preparation is the difference to teams I've been to World Cups with in the past,'' Fleming told reporters. ''Preparation and skill of this team is very high.

''We're more prepared and that's been consistent all the way through. We've put a lot of preparation into the team we've got and the way we want to use players.

''In other World Cups we've been a little unsure about how we want to play and what style we want to play.

''Over here we've been really sure about what we want to do and that's been reflected with a conservative team selection but that's just based on planning and trial and error for the last 12 months.'' Even after a crushing victory 129-run triumph over Ireland on Monday, the Kiwis felt there was still room for improvement as they seek to reach the final for the first time.

''There is a lot of confidence in the team and with that comes expectation,'' Peter Fulton said.

New Zealand have also overcome past weaknesses with their batting depth, which they illustrated by rallying against Ireland after being 189 for seven. They scored 59 runs from the last five overs to finish on 263 for eight.

''That is a positive and it has been a strength for some time,'' Fleming said. ''Our ability to hit the ball at the death period of an innings has been very strong and today (Monday) was another example of how it can get you out of trouble and win you a match.'' New Zealand's next game is against Sri Lanka in Grenada on Thursday.


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