Bond ditches rebel ICL for Black Caps
New Zealand speedster Shane Bond is not jetting to join the rebel Indian Cricket League having committed himself to the Black Caps for the season ahead.
Speculation in recent months had centred around Bond signing for the breakaway group but Bond laid the rumours to rest yesterday in Christchurch confirming he will be sticking with the establishment.
Bond did receive a tempting offer to play in the rebel Twenty20 league which starts in India in November that he said caused him “a few sleepless nights”.
Fitness permitting, Bond is available for all of New Zealand’s upcoming season which includes tests and one-day series in South Africa, at home against Bangladesh and capped by home and away series’ against England.
It would not surprise, however, if Bond joined Black Caps team-mates Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Scott Styris in accepting an offer to play in the Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 competition which is approved by the International Cricket Council and will start in April. It will not conflict with ICC scheduled series.
Bond said all would be revealed within the next week or so. “It will all come out in a week or two, but there’s stuff going on behind the scenes.”
Bond said it meant he was now fully focused on the South African tour with the Black Caps leaving Christchurch tomorrow.
Bond, who has a remarkable 74 wickets from just 16 tests, is hoping for better fortune than his last series scheduled against the Proteas which never started. He suffered a knee injury after the first warm-up game two seasons ago.
Bond expects the wickets to be markedly better than when the team toured in April and May last year and the pitches were tired. “The wickets should be a lot better than last time. They were up and down because they were tired. This time they should be good.
“We are not expecting much sideways movement but they should have a bit of pace.”
Bond was under no illusions how tough the tour would be to a country where New Zealand has never won a test series.
“All the games I’ve played against South Africa have been close. If we can cut out the odd bad session we have then we are in with a chance.”
Bond is aware South Africa will be match-hardened coming off a tour of Pakistan where it recently accounted for the home side 1-0 in the test series.
“We have a couple of warm-up games which we want to play with intensity and set about winning.
“The South Africans have just come off a couple of tests so have got that intensity and we need to generate it quickly.”
South Africa’s success pushed Pakistan a position below New Zealand on the world test ladder with the Black Caps now sixth.
The Black Caps are returning to the republic less than a month after being there for the world Twenty20 tournament where they reached the semi-finals. Bond was down a little on his usual speed around 140km/h speed at the tournament which he put down to the early season timing of the event.
“It’s just a matter of getting bowling fitness. We came straight out of indoors and just had a couple of practices outdoors then were right into the matches.
“I didn’t quite have the timing right. Once you get the timing and bowling fitness, that allows you to bowl quick.
“Then you get some days where the outfield was nice and firm and other days when it was soft and that can throw your timing out as well. I’m hoping to use the two warm-up games to get up to speed.”
Bond has been frustrated by the fickle spring weather in Christchurch which has prevented him doing much bowling outdoors since returning home.
He is optimistic the back troubles which led to surgery several years ago are now behind him despite some niggles again last season which were similar to when he previously broke down.
“I still get some aches and pains, but they rescanned my back and it is really good in terms of the screws and the bolt holding the L5 vertebrae together. “With the way I’ve trained and the action I’ve got now, I’d be pretty disappointed if it goes wrong.”
New Zealand’s first-class matches will be played at altitude and Bond said that probably favoured the batsmen.
“It means a deeper burn on lungs when bowling and the ball comes faster off the bat.”