Fleming returns but Vettori keeps captaincy

Stephen Fleming has returned to the BLACKCAPS squad for the third Chappell-Hadlee Trophy match at Jade Stadium, Christchurch - but Daniel Vettori keeps the captaincy.

Fleming was welcomed back to the squad after missing the games against Australia in Auckland and Wellington.

He continued his recuperation from a benign tumour before returning to action on Monday in State Wellington Firebirds' victory over State Canterbury Wizards in Christchurch.

After that game, he joined the BLACKCAPS squad on their arrival in the city.

He said: "It's been difficult at times, but it's very good to be back and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"I feel pretty stiff through the area that was cut with the scar tissue, but I'm pretty good. The game, the whole four days was very important but it's been geared to getting back for this game and I’m very pleased to be available.”

Fleming felt there was no conflict with Vettori retaining the captaincy while he was playing. In fact, he believed the plan fitted in with the BLACKCAPS’ long-term goals

“I think the decision to have Daniel as captain for the next game is fantastic,” he said. “The development of Daniel whether in this series or when we’ve been on tour is paramount for the succession of this team.

“While I think it’s a little unusual, I think it’s a fantastic move in terms of my reintroduction to international cricket and Dan’s continuity in the series. He’s done a great job under pressure and it makes sense that he keeps the captaincy.”

Vettori agreed it would be a novel, but useful experience for all involved.

“It’ll be interesting, it’ll be a new experience,” he said, before joking: “I’ve done it before in warm-up games and he’s been terrible so I’ll have to keep a bit of an eye on him. No, it’s very exciting to have him back, just his presence in the room. He’s not captain but he’ll still have a massive influence on the side and it’s really good to see him back.

“After the performance in the last game, going so close, We’ve had a run of losses against them, but the guys are still on a little bit of a high and anything you can’t take from Australia, any win, is important. We’ve had a run of losses against them and against them for a while and the guys are still pretty motivated to get something hopefully from the game and continue on against Sri Lanka.”

Fleming admitted he watched the second Chapell-Hadlee Trophy game enthralled, and had agonised along with all BLACKCAPS fans.

“I was watching like most of the country,” he added. “It was an amazing game to watch. I'm not a massive cricket watcher, but that second innings was something special.  It was disappointing not to get across the line. We've had four or five games recently that came pretty close and must have been disappointing for the guys.”

Fleming was the one addition to the squad from Wellington, with the 12-man match day team – including substitute – to be announced nearer the game. Australia have named their side, with Mitchell Johnson going straight into the squad as substitute, The uncapped left-arm bowler comes in for Brett Lee, who headed home for medical treatment.
Michael Lewis, substitute in Wellington, comes into the side.

BLACKCAPS (from): (captain), , , , , , , , , , , .

Australia: Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Michael Lewis, Andrew Symonds, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson (substitute).

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