QUEEN'S ROAD: At one point in Stephen Fleming's life, he had to choose between a cricket tournament in England and the final semester of college. While he obviously chose cricket, he wishes he had gone back and finished his course later.
“I wanted to become a teacher,” he says. The star cricketer now coaches the IPL team Chennai Super Kings, and feels it has brought him closer to his dream.
“As a coach, I get to impart my knowledge to world-class cricketers now. I think I'm a living example of why it’s important to pursue education despite having a career in sports,” he said.
The former captain of the New Zealand cricket team was in Bengaluru to ‘get students thinking about moving to New Zealand for higher studies.’
“Education in India is extremely competitive. While chasing good grades, it is also important to understand why you are doing it in the first place. Studying abroad will force you to open your mind and take a look at your surroundings,” he says.
What the greats do
Known as one of the best captains of world cricket, Fleming made his Test and ODI debut against India in 1994, winning the Man of the Match title in the former.
He went on to become New Zealand’s youngest captain at 23. When asked what helped him score big at the crease, the left-handed batsman says, “Concentration, confidence and discipline.”
“There are great players and there are good players. Great players do the same things as good players, only more often. Persistence is the key,” he further says.
On coaching the CSK
Fleming, who retired from international cricket in March 2008, enjoys teaching up-and-coming cricketers. On how it is different from teaching those at the top of their game, he says, “It’s rewarding. The younger guys have talent and they are on the path to accumulating knowledge. My job is to teach them and empower them to make mistakes so that they can learn.”
Working with someone like Dhoni, he says, is different because he is experienced enough to coach himself.
“Over the years, I have developed a greater understanding and affection towards India. Bengaluru, especially, is a home away from home to me,” Fleming shares.
The cricketer loves shopping at UB City and hanging out at the bars and restaurants in the neighborhood.
“Bengaluru is so green, cooler than other Indian cities and progressive too,” he adds.
(Education New Zealand is New Zealand’s government agency for international education)