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Turbulence at the top

But the problem was that he made the decision himself, and caught the coaching staff by surprise with the timing of the announcement. You can’t do that, apparently! The coaches and the selectors were the boss; they were the ones who decided what was best for the team.
They were in charge, and this was an even bigger call than when Richard Hadlee got into all sorts of trouble with the cricket authorities by rightly deciding to reduce his run-up. Looks like old habits die hard.
I'd rank NZ Cricket's dumping of Fleming as a captain in the Rugby League Sports Management, Papua New Guinea Hockey High Performance Development, and American Military Intelligence category of oxymorons. Sure, Fleming is in the twilight of his career but surely as our most successful captain ever and one of the world's best over the last 10 years he has earned some right to stage-manage his exit? The fact that he gave up the ODI captaincy after the World Cup shows he is not really wanting to hang onto the reins longer than he perhaps should. He is still in fine nick (a 243 for Nottinghamshire earlier last month) and at age 34 you wouldn't think senility has crept in yet, would you? 
Who knows how long Fleming will hang around for, and it is highly unlikely that this demotion will bring out the best in him as a batsman.
There was a deafeningly hollow sound to his “I have respect for Vettori” comment after the announcement came. It is now highly probable that Fleming will give NZ cricket the big two-fingered salute and bugger off to the Indian Leagues, find another English county or work on his acting. Honestly, NZ cricket is living in cloud cuckoo land if they think they can demote him from the captaincy and yet retain his services as a batsmen.
 The fact is Fleming is still the best qualified for the job, and can still hold his place in the side. In fact there is daylight between him and the next best equipped test batsman. In fact, there is no obvious candidate for who that would be.And with Test series' away to South Africa, England and Australia over the next 12 months this is not the time to be blooding the heir apparent. IF NZ Cricket had any brains, they would look at the long-term calendar, see we have a comparatively smoother domestic season in 2008/9 with visits by West Indies and India and promote Vettori or whoever then.
So, reading between the lines, this is about power. The relationship between Fleming and Bracewell has been strained from the outset. If you think Fleming looks like he’s sucking on a pickled onion when standing in the slips, have a close look at him sitting next to Bracewell in a Press Conference.

And you can’t help Fleming’s off the cuff comment, actually aimed at the media, that NZ cricket was run by the 80s mafia who had always had him marked as a threat. Snedden might be gone, but the 80s mafia is still well and truly in command; this ridiculous decision merely proves that.

Yet again we are left with a situation where personalities and politics get in the way of rational decision-making in a NZ sports organisation.
(Guest article, www.sportsfreak.co.nz)


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