Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fleming era

Stephen Fleming was the face of New Zealand cricket for more than a decade...

January 1992
Makes his first-class debut for Canterbury in Hamilton at the age of 18 and is promptly removed by Richard de Groen without troubling the scorers.

March 1994
Gives a glimpse of his talent in his debut Test against India - again in Hamilton - scoring 92 and earning the Man-of-the-Match award. Follows this just days later with 90 on his one-day international debut at Napier.

He is busted by team management for smoking marijuana on tour in South Africa, for which he is later fined the princely sum of $175.

January 1997
In his 23rd Test he scores his first century when he makes 129 against England .

February 1997
At 23 years and 319 days, becomes the youngest Test captain in New Zealand's history when he leads the side against England in Christchurch. He is initially standing in for Lee Germon, who cannot play due to a groin injury, but the position soon becomes permanent.

February/March 1999
Injury keeps him out of the home Test series against South Africa and Dion Nash takes over the captaincy. Nash's aggressive tactics win many fans and there are calls for Fleming to be sacked because of his more laid-back style. Fleming keeps the job and captains New Zealand in every Test for the next eight years.

October 15, 2000
Leads New Zealand to their first triumph in a major tournament, winning the Champions Trophy final against India in Nairobi.

March 2001

In Christchurch
he captains New Zealand for the 35th time in a Test match, breaking John Reid's record of leading the side 34 times.

March 31, 2004
Fleming is named New Zealand's Cricketer of the Year after a season that includes his highest Test score - 274 not out against Sri Lanka in Colombo - as well as a hefty 192 against Pakistan in Hamilton.

July 2004
Leads his side to victory in the tri-series with West Indies and England. New Zealand cruise to a 107-run win in the final against West Indies at Lord's and Fleming is named Player of the Series for his 254 runs at 50.80.

October 2004
Continues his remarkable year with 202 against Bangladesh and in the process enters the record books as New Zealand's most capped Test player and their highest Test run-scorer, surpassing Martin Crowe's mark of 5444.

September 17, 2005
Captains Nottinghamshire to their first County Championship title since 1987 with a comprehensive win over Kent in Canterbury. Fleming's form throughout the tournament is outstanding as he scores four centuries and finishes with 908 runs at 60.53.

November 2005
Has a potentially cancerous tumour removed from his face but recovers quickly and misses less than a month.

April 2006
At the aptly-named venue of , Fleming becomes the first New Zealand player to reach 100 Tests. Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock also reach the same milestone in the match and South Africa win by 128 runs.

October 25, 2006
Fleming breaks Arjuna Ranatunga's record of 193 one-day internationals as captain and becomes the world's most experienced ODI leader. He celebrates by making 80 in a convincing win over Pakistan in Mohali.

April 24, 2007
Quits as New Zealand's limited-overs captain after they are eliminated from the World Cup at the semi-final stage in Kingston. Finishes his reign with a record 218 matches as leader and a winning percentage of 48.04.

July-August, 2007
Is approached by the Indian Cricket League to captain a side in its new competition. Fleming does not publicly announce his intentions, leading to speculation he is considering retirement from the New Zealand team.

September 2007
Is replaced as Test and ODI captain by Daniel Vettori. Announces he will stay on as a Test player but retires from one-day internationals.

February 2008
Announces his retirement from Tests, effective after the home series against England.