Wellington, Sep 12 (UNI) New Zealand's most successful Test captain Stephen Fleming announced his retirement from One-Day International cricket today, adding that he will continue playing in the longer version of the game for now.
''I am fully committed to the Blackcaps and New Zealand Cricket but feel that the time is right for me to retire from the One-Day game,'' Fleming said.
New Zealand cricket board (NZC) has today given the test captaincy to spin bowler Daniel Vettori over Fleming who had led 'Blackcaps' to a record 28 victories, winning Test series against India, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Backed by this record, Fleming said he would have liked to continue leading the side for some more time. ''While I would have wished to remain captain of the Test team, I can also understand why the selectors prefer to have a single captain for the Test, One-Day and Twenty20 teams,'' he was quoted as saying on Blackcaps official website.
''I hold Daniel Vettori in high regard and will support him fully in his transition as Test captain,'' he added.
New Zealand will play two test, three ODI's and a Twenty20 match against South Africa after the Twenty20 World Cup.
Fleming puts the tour as the most important assignment for the new captain. ''The tour to South Africa will be a real challenge. No New Zealand team has ever won a Test series there and I am looking forward to the tour.'' The 34-year-old also hinted that he is planning for a full retirement with the coming New Zealand summer going to be his last home series.
''I shall continue playing Tests as long as I have the desire and skills required to contribute. However, it is likely that the coming New Zealand summer will be my last home series,'' he revealed.
NZC CEO Justin Vaughan paid tribute to Stephen's tremendous career as a One-Day captain and player. ''Stephen is currently our leading Test batsman and we hope he will play a significant role for the 'Blackcaps' for many series to come.
''It will obviously be a major step for Stephen to play in a non-captaincy role. For him to accept the selectors' decision graciously and to remain committed to New Zealand Cricket is a true measure of his character,'' Vaughan added.
He also said that he believes Fleming's leadership qualities will continue to help New Zealand cricket.
''True leadership is more than just the title of captain. Stephen is a true professional. He cares about the team and I am sure he will be a big help to Daniel and remain a leader within the 'Blackcaps'.'' ''It is likely that this will be Stephen's last home season with the 'Blackcaps' and we will ensure that it is memorable and befits our greatest ever captain,'' Vaughan said.