Newzealand Cricket Players
Maturity as a player and as a skipper has finally brought reward for New Zealand's longest-serving - and most successful - Test match captain, Stephen Fleming. A stint with Middlesex in 2001 laid the foundations for a successful re-evaluation of his batting methods where the inability to convert half-centuries to centuries did no justice to his quality. But after a breakout innings of 134 not out to steer New Zealand to a classy World Cup victory over South Africa, along with another spell in county cricket, with Yorkshire, Fleming confirmed his greater batting consistency with a career-highest 274 not out against Sri Lanka in the first Test of their 2003 series. He followed that with an equally impressive 192 at Hamilton against Pakistan later that year and was named New Zealand's cricketer of the year in 2004. The date 26 October, 2004 will remain in Fleming's memory, as he gained three New Zealand Test records in facing the Bangladesh attack at Chittagong. Firstly, his 87th Test earned him the record for most caps won by a New Zealander and, in striding to the crease for the 150th time, this was the greatest number of Test innings for New Zealand. And, as he moved to 81, in an innings where he would strike 202, he surpassed Martin Crowe's record aggregate of 5444 runs in Tests for New Zealand. He launched his first book, Balance of Power in December 2004 and, in the following season, captained Nottinghamshire to their first county title since 1987. He had benign tumour removed from his face in December 2005, during Australia's one-day tour of New Zealand.