New Zealand open door for Bond comeback
Shane Bond's potential international comeback remains on track following New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) decision that former ICL players will be eligible for national selection. Players including Bond, Daryl Tuffey and Lou Vincent need only prove they have severed all ties with the unofficial ICL and they will be immediately available for New Zealand selection.
The NZC announcement came after a board meeting on Thursday and opens the door for the players to be selected for New Zealand's next international engagement, a tour of Sri Lanka in August. Bond and Tuffey, both of whom performed strongly in the recent New Zealand domestic season, would be the most likely candidates for a recall.
"We understand both of these players wish to return to international cricket, which is great news for cricket in New Zealand," Justin Vaughan, the NZC chief executive, said. However, he said the board's decision was "about policy rather than any player's particular circumstance".
"Today's decision is by no means a guarantee of selection for any player," Vaughan said. "All former ICL players would need to earn their way back into the national side on merit.
"There's no question that New Zealand suffered heavily from the ICL - our national side lost a significant number of top players. New Zealand wants to have a top-ranked national team and this is very hard when you are unable to select from all your best players."
Bond's manager Leanne McGoldrick said there was no question Bond wanted to play for New Zealand once more. "We are still working through the contractual situation with ICL. Shane's is more complex," McGoldrick told the Dominion Post.
"As soon as he can make an announcement Shane will. It is his absolute desire to play international cricket again and is doing everything he can to do that. He is training incredibly hard."
Tuffey has reportedly already severed ties with the ICL, with Bond and Vincent likely to follow suit. Other New Zealand players who took part in the most recent ICL tournament included Hamish Marshall, Andre Adams, Chris Harris and the retired Craig McMillan and Nathan Astle.