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Coaching is my passion, says a humble Fleming
Omkar Paranjape | Friday, 22 April 2016 AT 12:46 PM IST
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PUNE: One thing you quickly notice about Stephen Fleming is his calm demeanour and presence. The seasoned New Zealander, now the coach of Pune-based IPL franchise Rising Pune SuperGiants walks the talk as he makes his mark in the coaching mould.

Despite Chennai Super Kings’ two-year suspension, Fleming and Dhoni once again find themselves on the same side of the divide at IPL’s new franchise.

The former New Zealand captain visited Sakal Times office, and talked at length on various cricketing topics. Following are the excerpts

As the Rising Pune Super Giants prepare to entertain Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first home game of the season, Fleming remains quietly confident of his team’s chances in the upcoming season.

“We have a great mix of players with international experience and talented Indian youngsters who balance our squad perfectly. We have made a decent enough start to give ourselves a realistic chance of going far this year,” the lanky coach admitted.

A lot has been said about the combination of Dhoni and Fleming, who made CSK one of the most successful teams in the eight-year history of the league. The New Zealander heaped praise on Dhoni’s humility and said the way the Indian skipper conducted himself was a lesson to learn for other cricketers.

“All of a sudden if you want me to say that I am very excited to play for a new team, don’t give credit to CSK and the fans for the love and affection they have given us, it will be wrong. I looked at the new chapter a positive way.

Fleming keeps no qualms in admitting that coaching never crossed his mind during his playing days, but is the first to admit it’s a privilege as it keeps him in the game he loves.

“As a professional, I would like to thank the Pune and Chennai for giving me the opportunity to coach at the highest level. I played 1 IPL season for Chennai and they obviously thought I wasn’t good enough.One of the biggest challenges is starting a new franchise, it will take a little bit of time to build bonds,” he said.

The BCCI is convinced that Fleming is the right man for the post although there have been reports of ex-Aussie players Shane Warne and Tom Moody being interested in the job.

When asked whether the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly will decide on the coach, the source said that while these greats will be consulted, at the moment this committee does not exist.

Of course there will be added responsibility as captain but as a professional we are supposed to do the job with more than 100% commitment. And that is what we will try to do.”

It is learnt that the new India coach will only get a 10-month contract - June 2016 to March 2017, which means Fleming, should he accept the offer he will be free to coach an Indian Premier League franchise in April and May.

“As of now I’ve got that right balance to his life. I’ve got a young family. The kind of character I am, I’ll take time to take such a big decision. But I’m absolutely privileged as the BCCI considers me fit for such a challenging job,” the former opener gushed.

When crossed to react on Ian Botham’s recent claim that T20 format is killing the Test arena, and hence not improving the game of cricket, Fleming had a simple notion that one needs to have 2 or 3 working formats to keep the game evolving.

“T20 requires a different approach and mindset. That explains the evolution T20 specialists. The point I am making is that it does not make sense for international teams to travel halfway across the globe to play two or three T20s. Recently New Zealand used their Test squad to play T20s against the West Indies in the Caribbean, so It’s everyone’s perception but according to me, T20 does a great service to cricket,” Fleming concluded.

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