Fleming held on to captaincy for too long: Waugh

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Sydney, Nov 30 (UNI) Inspirational former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has held on to his position for couple of years more than he should have, believes former Australian skipper Steve Waugh.

The 42-year-old Waugh said, ''Stephen has been a very good captain but I got the inkling it was time for him to go in a different direction a couple of years ago.'' ''It's a hard job and he's had massive responsibility from a young age.

''I would have been happy for him to take a bit of a back seat and just concentrate on his batting, and let someone else come in as captain,'' Waugh told NZPA.

But Waugh understands why Fleming, easily New Zealand's most successful test captain in his decade-long stint, held on until his messy departure this year.

''It's difficult once you've been captain to let that go.

''I think for (Fleming's) own benefit he needed to step back. Now he can relax a bit and concentrate on his own game,'' Waugh said.

''It wasn't a bad thing for New Zealand cricket, he did a great job but at some stage you've got to pass the baton over.'' Fleming handed over the one-day reins after their World Cup semi-final defeat to Sri Lanka but wanted to retain the test captaincy for the South Africa and England tours.

The selectors disagreed and Vettori led an injury-hit test side.

Fleming's successor has received a brutal introduction in South Africa, losing the two Test with huge margin.

Waugh said the lessons Vettori learned in the two Test would help him as a captain, as the one-day side arrive in Australia next week for three Chappell-Hadlee matches starting in Adelaide on December 14.

He must be knowing a thing or two about captaincy as he led the Aussies in 16 consecutive Test match wins. His winning caravan was abruptly stopped at the Eden Garden, with Indian batting star VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid playing the innings of their life.

''He'll look back on South Africa and say it's a period where he really got to know himself better, and got to know how he captained the side.

''As a captain you've got to follow your gut instincts and that's one thing he'll learn as he goes along, that you can't captain by consensus.'' ''You've got to be strong in your beliefs and sometimes you've got to have a bit of pain before you get the results. Maybe that's what he's going through now.'' Meanwhile, Waugh moved to allay fears of a one-sided Chappell-Hadlee series.

''New Zealand have always been a good one-day side, they always turn up and they're very competitive with a lot of allrounders.

''It's never an easy game and it's always competitive. They've had a good recent record against Australia.

''There's obviously a bit of turmoil at the moment after South Africa. This is an important series for New Zealand cricket to get back on track,'' Waugh said.

UNI

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