'I was a victim of politics' - Shane Bond
Shane Bond, the former New Zealand fast bowler, has said he became a "victim of politics" when he was discarded by his cricket board after he signed a contract with the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL). Bond has said he had no regrets over his decision to play in the ICL but has admitted to being let down by New Zealand Cricket (NZC), which, he claims, had contractually allowed for participating in the league but backed out when the ICC intervened.
"What I'll never understand is why it had to be one or the other, ICL or playing for New Zealand, especially when I received a cast-iron assurance that I could do both, and my contract with New Zealand Cricket certainly allowed for it," Bond said in his book Looking Back. "In the end I became a victim of politics.
"As distasteful as that might be, I could learn to live with that, but what I can't live with is the suggestion that in the end I didn't want to play for my country."
Bond signed with the ICL in January 2008 and was not considered for the national team for nearly two years due to his involvement with the unauthorised league. He made his international comeback in June 2009 when NZC allowed players to return to the national fold on the condition that they terminate their ICL contract.
Bond, who played for Delhi Giants, was earlier in the year, snapped up by IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, who bid US$750,000 for him at the auction. He still stands by his decision to play in the ICL though. "One thing I'll never regret is signing to play in the Indian Cricket League. Not at all. I've achieved security for my family and in the long term that is more important than a few Test and one-day caps.
"Although I had been on a good contract by New Zealand standards, I hadn't got rich out of the game. I'd done all right, obviously, but I simply hadn't played long enough to accumulate the sort of income that would provide long-term security for my family once my career ended."
Bond recalled the discussion he had with NZC chief Justin Vaughan when he was told his contract with the board would be terminated due to his links with the ICL. "'Excuse me?' was about the only response I could come up with," Bond said. "So let's get this straight, it was okay for NZC to be in breach of this regulation as long as the wrong people didn't find out? Or had they just not done their homework properly? I admit I lost it a bit here and, for the first and only time, I swore at Justin."
Bond said he opted against the legal route out of consideration for himself, his board and his team-mates even though it could have worked in his favour. "There was talk that India would not honour their commitment to tour here in 2009, and that other New Zealand guys who had signed with the IPL would have their contracts torn up," he said. "I would have suffered, NZC would have suffered, and my mates would have suffered. In the end it was better just to suck it up and move on."