Good question. It gave me a chance to review this outstanding bowler of England.
Matthew Fleming was a ODI bowler who batted a little. His bowling was of high class. He took a wicket every 31 balls in his 11 ODI matches, conceding 25.5 runs, indicating his cutting edge. He was not selected much for the English team, inspite of his known talent with the ball. He is on par with bowlers like Shaun Pollock, Simon O'Donnell, Ian Bishop, Germaine Lawson, BP Patterson, Ajit Agarkar, Kyle Mills and Wasim Akram in ODI. Only problem was that his talent with the ball was not recognised.
Afterall, how many bowlers took a wicket every 31 balls or less in ODI amongst bowlers who have played atleast 11 matches ? There are only 28 bowlers out of some 622 bowlers and Matthew Fleming was the 28th best. Similarly, his 1.55 wickets per match stands at 28th best. His 25.53 runs per wicket is the 88th best average out of the same 622 bowlers. His effectiveness in bowling is better than that of Flintoff but then we know that Freddie is a better batsman than Matthew Fleming.
He played between 1997 and 1998 during which time he was second only to Darren Gough. The bowlers in his time were: Phil Tufnell, Angus Fraser, Peter Martin, Dominic Clark, Alan Mullally, Chris Lewis, Andrew Caddick, Philip De Freitas, Craig White, Mark Ealham, Ashley Giles, RDB Croft, Dean Headley, Adam Hollioake, Ron Irani, Shaun Udal and Ben Hollioake and I feel that Matthew Fleming was more effective than these bowlers. He had one bad series (1998 Texaco trophy - a 3 ODI series with SAF) in which he took one wicket for 92 runs in 2 matches and he was rejected later.
He did not get to play test matches. Sad but true. He should have represented England more.