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Fleming questions future of Twenty20

Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming has cautioned against the cricketing world getting carried away with the early popularity of Twenty20 on the eve of the New Zealand's match against the West Indies at Eden Park.

Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming has cautioned against the cricketing world getting carried away with the early popularity of Twenty20 on the eve of the New Zealand's match against the West Indies at Eden Park.

After limited exposure in the past year, the further abbreviated form of the game has proved a hit with spectators, who like a match condensed into three hours with plenty of big hitting.

Last season, 25,000 watched the New Zealand-Australia match at Eden Park, 28,500 saw South Africa play New Zealand at Johannesburg and almost 40,000 watched Australia against South Africa in Brisbane last month.

A near full house of 30,000 is expected tonight, with the game doubling as Chris Cairns' farewell fling for New Zealand.

Big crowds have been attracted to the game domestically in England and Australia's encounter with England also proved highly successful.

But Fleming was more guarded about jumping on the Twenty20 bandwagon.

"The ICC sees the success and the numbers and the money involved with it. What I see is caution, where it fits in on a congested calendar you start adding too many of these and you start to question where the other forms of the game lie.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"As a tour opener, I think they have massive appeal, but from the players' point view I think you proceed with caution."

Fleming said he had no reservations with expanding the game at domestic level.

"At domestic level it's full steam ahead and get as many games as you can in.

"What we have seen is an influx of people flowing on to other forms of the game.

"At international level it won't take people too long to get bored with it. It's just the way things are when something new comes in.

"Develop it domestically, get them some money and exposure and if they still show interest in that then keep hamming it up.

"It is very popular but you don't want to make too much of it. It's got some relevance to a series as a pipeopener but if you take it any further I think people will get sick of it pretty quickly."

Fleming said the shortened limited-over game had made players realise just how many more runs could be scored in 50 overs.

"I think we've seen some pretty massive scores in the one-day game like our 300-plus matches against Australia. It has evolved the skills but that can be, in part, due to different training techniques, too."

Fleming said the best way the Black Caps could send Cairns off was to win the match well, not by treating it like a fun event.

"We won't compromise the game. It's not a Chris Cairns festival match."

The Black Caps are heavy favourites to win despite the lottery the 20-over game can be.

It is New Zealand's third Twenty20 international, the West Indies have played none (apart from a friendly against Victoria); the Black Caps are coming from the one-day game at domestic level, while West Indies have been playing their four-day competition in the Caribbean.

Neither team is expected to be confirmed till shortly before play, which starts at 7pm. Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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