Shane Bond – A Tribute

Shane Bond – A Tribute

Bharat Raj, who writes exclusive articles for the visitors of crickick.com, authors another article on Shane Bond who has announced his retirement from Test Cricket and gives an account of ups and downs that this genuine quick has faced in his international career. Read on …………………….

To start with it has been a sad day for test cricket as one of the champion fast bowlers of recent times,

Shane Bond has retired from test cricket. As a fast bowler he was a thoroughbred and is one of the few cricketers I would pay to watch on a cricket field.

The lion-hearted fast bowler from Canterbury was first spotted by Dayle Hadlee. Shane Bond made his first class debut in 1997 for Canterbury. He made his test debut against Australia at Hobart in 2001-02. He did not have much success in his first three test innings which saw him taking a wicket each. His first four wicket haul {4 for 47} was against Bangladesh at Hamilton in Dec 2001 in his fourth test innings. He captured his first five wicket haul {5 for 78} against West Indies at Bridgetown in Jun 2002. It was the first of his five wicket hauls.

His contemporary pace bowlers were CJ Drum, JEC Franklin, IG Butler, AR Adams. New Zealand always looked for support bowlers to the likes of Dian Nash, Chris Cairns and Danny Morrison.

Actually Bond’s cricket career looked to be in jeopardy when he joined the New Zealand’s police force in 1999 and found little time to play first class cricket. He did come back to play first class cricket and made a fine impression in 2000/01 and it seemed like his cricket career was back on track.

For Shane Bond. it all changed in 2001/02 season, when he was selected to play for the New Zealand A team. He toured India and played a few tournaments like the Moin-ud-Dowlah Tournament at Hyderabad. The great Sir Richard Hadlee is said to have helped him with his bowling during that time. At that time New Zealand were touring Australia, but were hit by injuries to key bowlers like Dion Nash which made New Zealand to go for Shane Bond as he could bowl quick was the very reason behind the selectors was plumping for Bond. It all did not go as per plan for Bond. In his first series in Australia he could capture only three wickets at 96.33.

But he impressed every one by his pace and the ability to swing it back sharply. I still remember him troubling the tenacious Steve Waugh with those huge inswingers at Hobart. Bond had Steve Waugh dismissed leg before wicket in this test. It was a series in which the New Zealand played well and they even came close to winning the series at Perth but only for a couple of close decisions not going their way. Nevertheless, Shane Bond showed in this series that he had lots of potential and announced his arrival on the International Cricket arena. He had a successful time against Bangladesh in 2001/02 and after winning that series against Bangladesh, New Zealand returned to Australia to complete the one day series of their tour. It was a tri-series played between South Africa, New Zealand and of course the hosts, Australia. It was in that series in which Bond really made his mark as he took 21 wickets at 16.38. In his first match itself at Melbourne he troubled the likes of Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Ponting and company. as he took 3 wickets to help New Zealand defeat Australia in a low scoring match. One could never forget his superb spell at Adelaide in which he took a five wicket haul. He bowled with fire and venom on a flat track and the inswinging yorker he bowled to Adam Gilchrist was a gem as it swung so late to uproot the stumps. All Australian batsmen were at sea against the quick and accurate Bond. Bond was instrumental in New Zealand win as they won the game by 77 runs. It can be said that Bond was the main factor behind New Zealand reaching the finals of that tournament. He could not repeat the magic in the finals against South Africa as he was hampered by a knee injury but there was no doubting the fact that the New Zealand had suddenly unearthed a fiery and pacy strike bowler they so desperately needed.

As I briefly said in my last paragraph that he was troubled by an knee problem in the tri-series in Australia and that prevented him from playing England at home and touring Pakistan in 2002 though after that bomb which exploded near the hotel in which the New Zealand were staying in Pakistan, Bond may have thought to himself that he was lucky to miss the tour of Pakistan and that tour as expected was immediately cancelled because of that bomb explosion.

Anyway he came back to play in the Caribbean as Fleming lead the New Zealand to their first ever series triumph over the West Indies in West Indies. Stephen Fleming surely has to thank his number one speedster, Shane Bond for that as he took seven wickets in the first test at Barbados to help New Zealand script a famous victory. The New Zealand were able to draw the second test and hence they were able to win the two test series 1-0. In this series Bond showed his class by troubling none other than the great man Brian Charle Lara.

As 2002 came to an end the New Zealand met India at home and on some spicy wickets, New Zealand were able to easily defeat India in both tests and onedayers. The pitches in that series may have offered too much sideways movement for the quicker bowlers but no one can take away the credit from Bond as he constantly troubled the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Dravid with those huge inswingers and the odd delivery that straightened. I still remember the cracking inswinger he bowled to Dravid at Wellington in the first test as he found a little gap between Dravid’s bat and pad to send the stumps cart-wheeling. It has never been easy to find any flaw in Dravid’s tight technique but Bond with his sheer pace and swing undid Rahul Dravid

He had a great time in the 2003 world cup as he took 17 wickets at 17.94. His spell at Port Elizabeth against Australia was a top drawer for sure as he took a six wicket haul. Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Hogg, and Harvey were his six vicitms at the cost of 23 runs in 10 overs of which two were non overs. It was one of the sustained bowling spells ever seen in any World cup game. It looked like the New Zealand would crush the Aussies but again their brittle batting line up was a let down against the bowling of pace bowling of McGrath {3 for 29} and B Lee {5 for 42}. New Zealand were dismissed for 112 and Australia which had totaled 208 runs in their innings won the game convincingly by 96 runs. Shane Bond’s 6 for 23 ranks the second best bowling figures in a losing cause in the history of one day games, the best being Imran Khan’s 6 for 14 against India at Sharjah on 22.03.85.

Actually leaving the round robin match against South Africa, the New Zealand’s batting line up just flopped in that tournament as they were ousted at the super six stage itself by India at Centurion. It was match in which their brittle batting lineup couldn’t stand up to India’s disciplined bowling and though Bond made a few early breakthroughs, Dravid steadied the ship to help India defeat the New Zealand and with that the hopes of New Zealand progressing further in that tournament went up in smoke.

At that time it looked like the New Zealand had last found a bowler who could carry their bowling attack like Hadlee did in 1980’s but Shane Bond is a bowler who seems to put lots of pressure on his back and ankle. When he New Zealand toured Lanka in 2003 the disaster struck for Bond as he was diagnosed with a stress fracture on his back. He tried hard to make a successful come back and was in the squad that toured England in 2004. He was sent back home in the middle of this tour with the recurrence of back problem

It looked like he may even retire from international cricket but thanks to Hadlee and biomechanical experts he made some changes to his action and returned to play for the New Zealand in Zimbabwe. As expected in the test series against Zimbabwe they had no answer to his accurate quick bowling but he showed his class even against better opponents like India on that tour of Zimbabwe. India was the third team that was taking part in a tri-series in Zimbabwe and they felt the force of Bond in the first match itself at Bulawayo as Bond bowled a fiery spell and took a six wicket haul. The Indian team may have thought as to why they only had to face Bond again and again as he had tormented the Indian batsmen a lot in 2002/03 World Cup. The way he got struck into Ganguly in that match with some accurate bouncers was a treat to watch. As expected with him making a come back in such a grand fashion, the New Zealand were able to win that tournament. The New Zealand always looked so much better with Shane Bond in the side as he is a genuine strike bowler.

He did well at home against both the West Indies and Sri Lanka in 2006 and in the tri-series in Australia he troubled both the England and their arch rivals – Australia. He took 11 wickets at just 26.36 in that tri-series. He did take a hat-trick at Hobart against Australia and in the crucial match at Brisbane against England which became a virtual semifinal for both the sides as the winner of that match was going to progress to the finals, Bond made early breakthroughs. I do remember the inswinging Yorker he bowled to see England skipper Vaughan back in the pavilion in the second over of the match. England’s captain, Vaughan was struggling with knee injuries and he would have been cursing his luck that he got such a good delivery from one of the great bowlers . It didn’t help the New Zealand to progress to the finals of that tournament as they were let down by some poor fielding and Fleming though scored a century he took too much time to get it as England narrowly won that crucial match to reach the finals.

Bond also bowled some fine spells on the flat wickets of India against champion teams like Pakistan and Australia in the champions trophy. His performance helped New Zealand to reach the semifinals. I still remember the slower bouncers that he employed against the Pakistani batsmen in that tournament. It surely took Pakistan’s batsmen by surprise as Bond reaped rich harvest.

He also helped the New Zealand to crush Australia 3-0 in the Chappell-Hadlee trophy by taking a 5 wicket haul at Wellington. He had a successful 2007 world cup as he took 13 wickets at just 16.38 to help the New Zealand to reach the semifinals but unfortunately for them, Bond couldn’t make much of an impact against the marauding Sri Lanka in the semifinals as Jayawerdena played a breathtaking knock to crush New Zealand. Shane Bond in 2007 was already 32 and with his history of injuries and the advent of T20 may have made Bond to think of newer avenues as he signed for Indian Cricket League.

He had just played for the New Zealand against the South African team in South Africa as he picked up yet another injury but as he had signed for the rebel Indian Cricket League. ICC banned him and other cricketers who had joined Indian Cricket League from playing for their respective national teams.

Let me not debate on the issue of ban imposed on cricketers who had signed for the rebel ICL, but Bond’s loss to New Zealand Cricket was huge as he was their one and only strike bowler. It looked like Bond may never return to play for the New Zealand but the ICL was scrapped in 2009 and ICC allowed the rebel cricketers to join their respective national teams was a blessing in disguise as for as Bond and New Zealand was concerned

In 2009 when he returned play for the New Zealand, it can be said that they had an very inexperienced side. The likes of their inspirational skipper Fleming, Astle, Cairns, Macmillan and others had retired which made their new captain Vettori had too much responsibility on his shoulders as captaincy was thrust on him. He was New Zealand’s main strike bowler, one of their main batsman and with the sacking of their coach, Moles he has now temporarily taken over the role of being the coach as well! So it was great to see that Bond had come back into their line up as with him in the side the burden on Vettori was expected to get less.

The critics thought that Bond had lost a bit of pace and was not getting too much swing and to an extent they were right in their croiticism. Bond struggled a bit in the recently concluded Champions trophy and the one-day series played against Pakistan in the Gulf He is no doubt a class act and he showed it at the ripe age of 34, he took eight wickets in his farewell test, and saw New Zealand defeat Pakistan at Dunedin the first test. It was great to see Bond again bowling at over 90 miles per hour and troubling all Pakistan’s batsmen including their captain Mohammad Yousuf with some snorters. He had Pakistan captain caught and bowled in the first innings of this test.

Bond broke down with an abdominal strain during this series. I consider Bond as a honest cricketer as he thought that his injuries were letting down New Zealand, He announced his retirement from test cricket on 23rd of December. Bond’s retirement is sad to end to one of the best fast bowlers in recent times. The void create is so huge and it may take some time to fill in the breach as Dale Steyn of South Africa and the new comer Roach of West Indies are the only two quick bowlers around

Finally he played only in 18 tests but an bowling average of 22.09 and an phenomenal strike rate of 38.7 shows that he was up there with the best. When he was at his best, his run up, perfect action, the delivery stride and the amount of sharp swing that he used to generate was just a connoisseur’s delight. His ability to bowl quick and send batsman’s stumps cart wheeling out of the ground in test cricket would be missed but thankfully he has said that he would still play the shorter versions of the game. It is really sad that at present there aren’t too many genuine quicks going around and with Lee too struggling because of injuries. It can be said that only Dale Steyn is the genuine quick left though Roach of West Indies did show some potential in Australia, but he is new to international cricket arena. Only time would tell how far can Roach go in his art of pace bowling

Anyway I would like to salute Bond for his services to New Zealand cricket and for bringing joy to millions of cricket fans around the world!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *