Negotiations fail to resolve issue over ICL contract

Bond's New Zealand days appear over

Cricinfo staff

January 27, 2008

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Shane Bond is expected to finish his career with only 17 Tests © Getty Images

Shane Bond's international career is in all likelihood finished after weeks of speculation because of his association with the Indian Cricket League, leaving a huge dent in New Zealand's side. The ICL is not recognised by the ICC and the national boards and any players who sign for it effectively rule themselves out of international selection under a gentlemen's agreement.

However, Bond had hoped for an agreement with New Zealand Cricket allowing him to represent his country, and at the very least for the England series. According to the Sunday Star-Times, extensive negotiations between NZC and the New Zealand Players' Association reached a deadlock and Bond has now been released from his international obligations and is free to play in the Indian competition.

The newspaper suggested that the players' association argued that an email from NZC gave Bond the belief he was eligible for both the ICL and his country through an exemption. NZC said the email could not be so construed in the context of all the other emails he received.

A spokesman for NZC told Cricinfo the situation would be clarified later this week after the selectors had met on Monday. "The squad should be announced this week so we will know more then," he said.

It was hardly a surprise that Bond accepted the ICL offer, even at the sake of his international career, because under the terms of the deal he will be paid huge sums regardless of whether he is physically hurt. For such an injury-prone player - he has managed only 17 Tests in a stop-start career - the clause is attractive enough to warrant sacrificing any further international appearances. He is now the seventh New Zealand player who is effectively ineligible for country duties.

NZC's chief executive, Justin Vaughan, had been so keen to keep Bond he had even offered to help him financially to be released from the ICL contract. However, with the deal thought to be worth three times what he could earn with New Zealand - plus, of course, the tempting injury arrangement - he chose to take the Indian money.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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