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Cricketers reflect on their lives and times

Shane Bond

'I never wanted to let the batsman think I'd eased off'

Shane Bond never took his foot off the pedal, and didn't ever want to. He looks back at life in the fast lane

Inrerview by Andrew Fidel Fernando

February 27, 2013

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Shane Bond during a training session with Canterbury, Christchurch, January 20, 2010
"I always had a sense of when the batsman didn't like facing me" © Getty Images
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Sir Richard Hadlee is who I wanted to be, growing up. I wanted to bowl like him, take wickets like him. I grew up watching videos of him day after day. I knew his career like the back of my hand.

I was a bad one for nerves before the game. I'd get nervous the morning of games, and I liked to keep things pretty low key. But once I had the ball, I had a real sense of calmness. I was ready to play.

As a kid I remember always wanting to bowl fast. Just going back and not having a mark because you didn't have a run-up - you just walked backwards, and then ran in and bowled.

I always had a sense of when the batsman didn't like facing me, and that gave me a boost.

When you look at the Australian team that played through the 2000s, not only did they have a great side, they had a great side underneath. You know, the whole A team pushed them really hard. We didn't have that in New Zealand.

When I gave up rugby during the winter, I never compensated any of that training with anything in terms of gym work, so by the time the cricket season rolled around, I probably wasn't as fit as I was. That was probably the beginning of back problems for me.

I was never verbal but I definitely enjoyed bowling bouncers and that sort of intimidation, when you've got a batsman on the back foot.

I spent a lot of time watching opponents bat. Not just dismissals, but I'd watch the three or four overs leading up to dismissals, watching how they bat against fast bowlers and how they got them out, so that all the games I played, I was very clear in what I thought I needed to do.

In the police, I realised what a sheltered life I'd led. You see a different side of society. You get to see some stuff that isn't great, that you wouldn't normally get to see. It certainly hardens you up a bit, steels you, puts you into pressure, where you're forced to deal with some pretty uncomfortable stuff. I suppose in terms of cricket that was pretty good for me, because I was a little bit soft.

Before I had been picked for New Zealand, I remember having a day in Christchurch where I'd bowled quick on a flat wicket. My first-class coach, Gareth Doyle, said to me: "Mate, that's as quick as anything going around and I'm going to give [head selector] Sir Richard a call." Another time, after I bowled to Dion Nash in a first-class game, he said, "That spell you bowled, that's international class." Those were crucial boosts to my confidence.

Now that I'm a coach, people ask, "Why would you want to try this lifestyle again?" But I always loved touring with the guys. I think my wife's probably got it harder.

My high school looked after the sightscreens and scoreboards at Lancaster Park, so during first-class games I took most of the summer off and sat down and did the scoreboard operation or did sightscreens. I absolutely loved that job.

The constant 007 references in the media annoyed me after a while. But I was glad that everyone generally just called me "Bondy" to my face.

I've got photos of [former New Zealand football captain and Tottenham Hotspurs defender] Ryan Nelsen and I playing cricket in primary school. I was a couple of years older than Ryan but he was that good, he was still playing with me. He was tiny back then.

People grow up dreaming of playing international cricket, but there's a lot of hours when it's not fun, it's just hard.

Stephen Fleming was tactically very good, but his best asset was the clarity he gave us. Early in my career, he'd say, "This is how I want you to go about your work." As I got older and better, he took the reins off. He put a lot of faith in me and put a lot of pressure on me when we needed to get wickets. I thought that got the best out of me. He handled me very well.

I thought 35 was a pretty good age to retire. I haven't missed playing at all. I've bowled a couple of times in the nets and hate it.

Being a cop was something else I always wanted to do when I was younger. The idea of turning up to work and not knowing what would happen excited me. I'm lucky I've got to do two jobs that I wanted to do growing up as a kid and dreamed about doing.

The advice I'd give cricketers just starting their international careers is that when you finish, you want to look back and know that you did everything you could to be as good as you can be.

One of the best things about the Indian leagues is that wherever you are in the world, you'll have someone you can call and catch up with - your mates.

 
 
"Being in the police certainly hardens you up a bit, steels you. I suppose in terms of cricket that was pretty good for me, because I was a little bit soft"
 

I had a pretty simple motto. I would just keep running in even when I was knackered. I remember never wanting to let the batsman feel I'd eased off. I remember thinking, "Well, if it's not going to be me, it's going to be no one." That was probably learned from Chris Cairns. When we were playing Australia earlier in my career he said, "They're just going to keep coming hard at you, so you just have to keep coming hard at them back."

We got smashed around the park on my Test debut, against Australia in Hobart. It was sort of in slow motion. But I loved it. It was just amazing to be competing with those guys who I'd watched.

Chris Martin was a lot like me, in that sledging was never a big part of what we did. We grew up playing cricket together, where we knew we were the more insular sort of bowlers. We spoke about, as we got older, perhaps the need for us to be more outwardly verbal. I never got to that point. I don't think Chris has got to that point either.

I was 21 when I started first-class cricket. But after a while more problems kept on coming with my back through that period, so I thought, "I'm never going to make it" and headed off on another career path.

I remember bowling [Adam] Gilchrist at Adelaide in my first ODI series. That was probably the turning point. I thought, "If I can knock this guy over then I'm away." Before that I was just pleased if I didn't go for four. After that wicket, my thinking just turned around more to, "Right, where am I going to bowl now and how am I going to get this person out?" That was a big change for me. Gilchrist has said that yorker I bowled to him was one of the best he's ever faced. Considering I wasn't trying to bowl a yorker to him, that was pretty cool! It was a length ball gone wrong.

On traffic duty, I remember once directing traffic the wrong way down a one-way street.

I found the 2007 World Cup campaign when we reached the semis to be an underachievement. There was nothing stopping us from winning.

When you can run through a list of great batsmen and say you got them all out, that gives me a lot of satisfaction. Tendulkar, Dravid, Kallis, Ponting, Lara - those guys.

Toning down my pace never appealed to me. Bowling fast was what it was all about for me. Even though I had the sort of frustrating career that I had, I am happy that I never made the decision to bowl a bit slower and try to make things easier that way.

After I got a secure income, getting injured in cricket really didn't bother me too much. So I went back to first-class and said, "Right, I'm going to get stuck in every day and play. When I bowl I'm going to bowl flat out." I had a better appreciation of cricket, having had a real job.

I think the hardest thing about playing in the ICL was motivation. All my motivation for cricket was playing for New Zealand.

The worst part about injuries is coming back. There is just so much work to do to get yourself back to scratch, and it's all hard. The nice thing about being a coach is that I can talk guys through that mental side of it and understand what they are dealing with.

My first Test wicket was Steve Waugh, out lbw. I think it was a bit high and going over the wicket, but I thought I'd give it a shout, and it went my way.


Shane Bond bowls Adam Gilchrist, Australia v New Zealand, VB Series, Adelaide, 26 January 2002
The yorker that wasn't meant to be: Bond gets Gilchrist bowled in 2002 Tony Lewis / © Getty Images
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When I started, I didn't have much of a game. I had no style. All I did was just run in and bowl flat out, and I suppose I was lucky because I just got wickets through some good bowling and a bit of luck. At some point it just clicked and I got confidence and I never really lost it after that through the rest of my career. I sort of belonged.

The way I dreamed of getting batsmen out was to knock him out so that he fell onto the stumps. That would have been pretty good. It never happened.

I've always enjoyed watching the best fast bowlers bowl. I played against Brett Lee when I was about 15, over in Australia. I always thought the way he bowled was aggressive. Always enjoyed watching Dale Steyn bowl, and people like Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff as well. I learnt a lot about my own bowling just by watching those sort of guys.

I didn't like the underdog tag because it almost felt like winning was an overachievement. We were either good enough or we weren't. I think sometimes you can overstate wins, and if we lose it's, "Oh we were never supposed to win anyway."

A lot of my injuries just went "bang", and they were quite serious injuries. Mostly there was never any warning it was going to happen. It just happened. After a while I just accepted that I was always going to be a little fragile because of the style that I bowled.

I don't think South Africa are chokers. They've been the same as us in World Cups. We've been good enough to win World Cups, but we weren't prepared to push ourselves as hard as we could have. Looking back, if we'd been prepared to say, "How hard can we train and prepare?" you never know what we might have been able to achieve.

Every team goes through rebuilding phases and has new players come in. You can't stay in one place all the time. I think that's the difference between this New Zealand team and the one I played in.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by android_user on (January 9, 2014, 11:40 GMT)

He used to take wickets as though he was munching chocolates!!!!!!! The word impossible was never in his diary... The only grt bowler of 2000 era!!!! Tamed the Aussies in their prime..

Posted by SlingshotPace on (February 28, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

One of the best bowlers of all time, if he was still in the game he'd be right up there with Steyn in the ICC Rankings

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

The 'original' Bond of Cricket. Well, did not play much but as in case of meteors, he, in his breif pomp, attracted a lot of critical acclaim for his purely fast bowling - precise and worrisome for batsmen. A true 'FAST' bowler.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

Great bowler, a real match winner. One of the last really good fast bowlers and a nice bloke as well.

Posted by ranpath on (February 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

I remember Shane bowling the great Brian lara in a NZ v WI test match in the caribbean. it was clear that Lara was totalyy beaten for pace and it was not as if he had just atarted to bat...he already had 70 odd on the board !!! Shane would have truly been one of the greats had his career not been hampered by injuries.

Posted by Baddabing on (February 28, 2013, 1:54 GMT)

His strike-rate in Test match and ODI is up there with the all time best...if only he had kept up those numbers fo 5 more years he would be a genuine contender for greatest bowler of all time

Posted by Trickstar on (February 28, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

@mukesh_LOVE.cricket Yes mate I used to love watching Bond ball during the the 2000's as well and was gutted when he got banned. which was ridiculous. One pint though to pick you up on, I don't agree with you when you say he was faster than the names you've listed. All you have to do is look on utube at all the videos of Bond's best spells and he was a consistent 140/146kph bowler, same as the likes of Finn,Cummins & Steyn when he ramps it up. Like those guys he could slip an effort ball in over 150+ but he was never consistent at that speed. Like I said if you like watching him bowl there are sme great videos on that well known sharing site.

Posted by landl47 on (February 28, 2013, 1:03 GMT)

Bond's test record is amazing: almost 5 wickets per game, average of 22.09, strike rate of 38.9. Those are the numbers of an all-time great bowler. Unfortunately, he only played 18 tests, so his career is more notable for what might have been than for what he actually achieved. Still, at his best he was as good as anyone.

I hope he has a long and happy career and life.

Posted by kingspakistan on (February 27, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

No doubt a great bowler. He was such a treat to watch. I had tears in my eyes when I heard about his retirement.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

he is already doing good work as bowling coach, look at southee and boult, becoming a class act pair of swing bowlers who could rip apart any batting line up

Posted by Flash007 on (February 27, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

An absolute great, firecracker of a bowler....Wished he played longer devoid of injuries....just wish!

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (February 27, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

what era that was when he, shoaib akhter and britt lee use to ball. i miss those fast and furious bowlers.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

he was a great blower and i still miss him a lot.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

The only bowler who would destroy the mighty Aussies that time. I love him and he is one of my favourites. Unfortunately injuries made him retire in the age of only 33.

Posted by suvam.ask on (February 27, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

he was the one of the most decent pace bowler Cricket ever get......he respect cricket...cricket surely these guys....miss him

Posted by Jacobchikku on (February 27, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

Such a good bowler, and it was just injuries which prevented him from achieving what ever a Glen Mcgrath or Bret lee has done, Just like his honesty in the following lines, "Considering I wasn't trying to bowl a yorker to him, that was pretty cool! It was a length ball gone wrong. "

He was cooool.......

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (February 27, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

Oh yes , Shane bond , i too was a big fan of this guy , a genuine FAST BOWLER who would have ended as a gr8 if not for his injuries , i always thought he could have been as good as steyn, after akhthar , lee , bond we are still searching for a fast bowler ,even the guys like steyn , pattinson , cummins , finn rarely goes above 150kms/hr

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

Great Handsome player,btr than dale steyn for me

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Best Batsman For Me Brian Lara, Best Bowler Shane Bond. Love his run up and action.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

One of my favourite ODI bowlers of all time. Pity that the ICL and the injuries held him back. My favourite memories are the bouncer he bowled to Lara in 2006 (albeit in test match), but his 90mph+ inswinging yorker was up there with the best...

Posted by Rafelgibt on (February 27, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Awesome and my all time favorite BOWLER.Hope one day he would be our (Bangladesh) Pace bowling coach.Wish you all the best with due respect. BOND; the name is Shane Bond.......

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

Its a shame that his career couldn't flourish, he could be one of the best ever. He was the only modern bowler who had the potential to be as good as dale steyn.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

Bond, Shane Bond. One of my fav all time fast bowler.

Posted by sarangsrk on (February 27, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

@Shahbaz Alam.."Smooth Action"? of Shane Bond,Really??? I think the smoothest action in fast bowling would be Allan Donald and then there would be Wasim Akram, Lee. Bond had a bit of body jerk when he delivered the ball. Having said that, he was a fearsome bowler with great line n lengths at such high speed. Somehow, its difficult to see too many natural talents coming out of NZ and there were too many of those dibbly-dobbly bowlers like Larsen, Harris, Styris etc. It was finally nice to watch someone with genuine pace and talent like Bond. l liked the NZ team of 1999 WC captained by Fleming with Cairns,Astle,Twose, Vettori and then the team of 2001 VB series. Genuinely good blokes these kiwis!!

Posted by emailmkarthik on (February 27, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

Shane Bond is one among my all time favorites. What a player he was!

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

Shane Bond, a gentleman cricketer and a lovely human being, Respect <3

Posted by srajesh1989 on (February 27, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

one of the fast bowling gr8s in modern cricket and he was the one whom the ausses are scared off at their peak period.....

Posted by Meety on (February 27, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

Such a shame he had such a horrible run with injuries. As an Ozzy he use to annoy the crap out of me when he played, somehow always taking wickets! LOL! To this day I still don't know how we beat NZ in that 2003 W/Cup match, when Bond had 6 for 20something. People tend to over glorify his achievements, which is fair in ODIs (he was brilliant), but his Test career is lacking enough combat against good teams. In ODIs he always seemed to play his best against Oz, from memory he took nearly 3 wickets a match against Oz in ODIs! That is even though his career was pretty much in the middle of Oz dominance. In ODIs - I would take Lee over Bond by a whisker, as Lee had a much greater career length. I hate to think what Bond would of done to us in the 2nd Test in Hobart a year or so ago!!!!

Posted by LillianThomson on (February 27, 2013, 4:18 GMT)

It wasn't Shane Bond's fault that his ICL participation wrecked his career.

He insisted upon an ICL contract which always allowed his release to play for his country, and he followed the correct process with NZ Cricket and got permission in writing to play ICL and for New Zealand.

NZ Cricket then unlawfully reneged on this by refusing to select him due to pressure from BCCI.

It was, and remains, a scandal. And blatant Restraint of Trade, of a type proven to be unlawful at the 1978 Kerry Packer trial.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

One of the gifted talent from NZ injury, NZ cricket board and his decision to play ICL dented his career. Very simple and athletic run up, we love watching him when is on song but he sung very less to his potential. Dan and Bond would have been a wonderful combination to NZ. Happy that a small country could produce such talent where India, SL and Bangladesh couldnt produce fast bowlers even 50% potential as that of Shane Bond. If his career would have been like that of Akram, McGrath then he would have been the real BOND of cricket.....

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