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April 29, 2008
Shane Bond says he is angry with New Zealand Cricket's handling of his involvement in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) and even if his ban is lifted he could easily choose to carry on playing for the cash. Bond was New Zealand's premier fast bowler until January when he signed with the ICL - playing for the Delhi Giants - and he says his board misled him.
"I asked for permission from the New Zealand board to join the ICL," Bond told the Guardian. "If they had said: 'No, you can't', then I'd be in the IPL now. But they actually said yes and so I signed my contract with the ICL. Then a little later they said: 'No, you can't go anymore.' It was disappointing and I was pretty grumpy for a while.
"In the media it was made to look pretty much like I'd done a runner and that wasn't the case. It's not an ideal way to end your career and one of the more disappointing things for me is that no one even said: 'It's a shame you can't play anymore but thanks for your contributions and good luck.' It was just a case of, 'Oh, he doesn't want to play anymore so bugger off.' That irritates me most."
If Bond had, like some of the New Zealand players, appeared in the Indian Premier League then he would be eligible to play for his country in their current tour of England. Instead he joined the ICL, along with other former international team-mates whom Bond points out would challenge the current New Zealand team. "It's a bad situation for New Zealand - and it's not great for international cricket either."
Bond has no regrets, however, about having taken the money the Indian league has to offer, and it may prove too attractive even if NZC come calling once more. "I'd have to play for years for New Zealand to earn the same amount of money, and play in every game," he said. "The decision to go to India is a no-brainer. Even if the ban gets lifted I've still got to make the decision whether I want to play Test cricket again. I've got to the point where I've moved on and India has become my priority."
At the same time, he would like to see the ICC take hold of the Twenty20 situation in India. "ICC have missed the boat," Bond said. "They've stood back and waited to see what would happen. They should get hold of the situation and say this is how things will be run from now on. They should stamp their authority rather than just being dictated to - whether India like it or not."
He warned of the danger facing international cricket with the attractive financial rewards in the Indian leagues. "Players are now seriously considering missing Test series and retiring early to take up these opportunities. The cricket authorities are either going to have to allow players to retire or put alternatives in place. It does need to get sorted out because you don't want the game's credibility taking a hit."
He believes, however, that the oldest form of the game will survive and stand the test of time. "Test cricket is still the ultimate. Even going to a World Cup doesn't compare to getting the creams on for a Test because it's still the best form of cricket to play."
In the meantime he is pulling on his whites at first-class level once more, with a stint for Hampshire.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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