Stephen Fleming retires

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Stephen Fleming - forever brandishing his sexy shouldersWe really ought to have something to say about Stephen Fleming, but we really don’t.

We know that he was a brilliant captain, because we read it about a thousand times. We don’t question that fact, but we’re struggling to think of any evidence. Our first thought was of the three match Test series New Zealand drew in Australia in 2001, but looking back, Australia scored heavily and there was a lot of rain.

We also know that he wasn’t all that great at hundreds at first. It took until his 39th Test innings to reach three figures – 129 against England at Auckland. The next year he got his second Test hundred, 174 not out against Sri Lanka in Colombo. He then went another three-and-a-half years before notching his third, 105 against Australia at Perth.

He’d mastered it then though. His six remaining hundreds included 274 not out, 192, 202 and 262.

Everyone also remembers his spectacularly ballsy 134 not out against South Africa in the 2003 World Cup. New Zealand needed to win to stay in the tournament; South Africa had scored 306, which wasn’t so readily chased-down back then; and New Zealand had won just one of their previous 18 games against South Africa.

With rain shortening the match midway through, an early wicket or so could have done for New Zealand via the Duckworth-Lewis calculations, but Fleming had preserved his wicket and scored quickly enough that after the recalculations, New Zealand only needed 44 off 51 balls.

The astounding part was that the entire innings had been risk-free and stylish. It was gauged and executed to perfection.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Your girlfriend must be chuffed to bits, you’ve shown Fleming’s sexy shoulders twice in two years!

    I imagine you sending a link to the missus via E-mail..

    subject: Happy Valentines Day.

    Here you go dear, a picture of Fleming and his sexy shoulders, just for you!

    Sorry about the lack of a card.

    Lots of Love

    King Cricket.

    It was very nice of Fleming to save your bacon, by retiring today, I must say!

  2. Three times, actually. We didn’t link to one other instance.

    Never let it be said that romance is dead.

  3. I’ll miss Stephen Fleming. He was one of my favourite “boring” cricketers of the old school.

    He was always there for you. Grafting one of his legs. Standing. Playing the forward defensive. Standing. Brooding. Looking serious. And standing.

    Cricket as it should be.

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