Fleming announces retirement

Updated: 21 February 2008 17:18 IST

Former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming will quit international cricket after the home Tests against England in March

New Delhi:

Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming has ended all speculation by announcing his retirement from international cricket.

The 34-year-old, who quit ODIs after last year's World Cup, announced that he will retire from Test cricket after the home series against England in March.

His final game will be the third Test in Napier, which begins on March 22.

'Cricket my life'

"Cricket has been my life, it's been incredibly good to me," he told reporters.

He said hoped to be remembered as a thinker in the game: "I really enjoyed thinking about the game, I got more enjoyment out of my captaincy than my batting."

Fleming said New Zealand as a side often had to outsmart their opposition because they could not rely on raw talent alone.

"We had to know the opposition almost better than ourselves and it meant we were able to punch above our weight."

Fleming said he had always indicated he was likely to retire from international cricket at some point in the near future and the time was right for him and his family now.

"Retiring before the tour to England will allow me to be with (wife) Kelly for the birth of our second child and I'm excited about pursuing new business opportunities," he said.

"A key business opportunity I will be pursuing is the establishment of a marketing media and sports management business here in New Zealand.

"I will also be taking up the option of playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL)."

Fleming said there might also be a role for him with the Wellington side.

But he told reporters: "I've still got a job to do with the three Tests against England."

'Didn't get enough hundreds'

He said he had hoped to split captaincy with Daniel Vettori - with Vettori captaining the one-day side and Fleming the Test side. He said losing that opportunity was a disappointment.

But Fleming said his biggest regret during his career was not having more test centuries to his name and he hoped to add to his total in the upcoming test series.

"I'd love to get three or four Test hundreds - that would be a dream."

He said it wouldn't be easy with English Test cricket strong under the leadership of Michael Vaughan.

He was a great captain: Vaughan

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan paid tribute to Fleming, describing him as a great captain and player.

"Stephen's leadership qualities had a tremendous impact on the team and he will be missed.

"He has made a huge contribution to cricket in New Zealand and I sincerely wish him all the best."

He used me well: Vettori

Vettori was the first to break news of Fleming's retirement, letting it slip at a media conference held about half an hour in advance of Fleming's own.

He said Fleming has been an inspiration in his profession and as a friend, and would be remembered as one of New Zealand's greatest Test players.

He said Fleming had coached him as a young spinner and "had a fair idea what I wanted to do and he let me go".

Vettori, who started playing under Fleming as an 18-year-old, said he didn't want to "steal Fleming's thunder" ahead of his media conference - it would be sad to see him go.

Fleming had been rumoured to be preparing to call time on his 14-year tenure after the England series.

He lost the test captaincy in September last year after a record reign of 10 years, the selectors handing the responsibility to Daniel Vettori, who had already assumed control of the New Zealand one-day and Twenty20 outfits.

Fleming's career in statistics

Matches: 108
Innings: 183
Not-outs: 10
Runs: 6875
Highest: 274 not-out
Average: 39.73
Centuries: 9
Half-centuries: 43
Strike Rate: 45.38
Catches: 166

One Day International
Matches: 279
Innings: 268
Not-outs: 21
Runs: 8007
Highest Score: 134 not-out
Average: 32.41
Centuries: 8
Half-centuries: 49
Strike Rate: 71.4
Catches: 132

Topics : Cricket Stephen Fleming
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