September 7, 2000

Policeman Bond looks to put English lessons into effect

A season out of first-class cricket while pursuing police training has left Canterbury bowler Shane Bond wondering if he can pick up on improvements in his game made in England two winters ago.

Bond broke the Northern Lancashire League record for most wickets in the season with his Furness Club in 1999. His 118 wickets beat the 70-year-old record by four and he was so pleased with his development that he was looking forward to advancing his first-class career last summer.

However, on the way home he received word that he had been called up to the New Zealand Police and his training period was from November last year to April this year.

That left no time for him to pick up a cricket ball at all and he will go into the new season in Christchurch hoping that he can put the lessons learned in England into practice for the benefit of his first-class career.

Interestingly, his Furness club who wanted him to return this winter if he wasn't called up by the police has been the base for fellow Canterbury player Warren Wisneski.

Bond said he had spent all the time he wanted to living from cricket and was now enjoying his work as a policeman based in the Christchurch Square kiosk.

"I'm playing for enjoyment now and I just want to play well for Canterbury. It is good rolling up to practice and just having to worry about enjoying myself."

He didn't have too many problems regaining his bowling touch when trying out for the first time back at the bowling crease.

"The first few balls I bowled were a bit rough but Garry MacDonald said my action was looking a lot smoother.

"My cricket definitely improved in England and now I just want to do well for Canterbury and pick up some more wickets," he said.

Bond doesn't mind what type of cricket he plays. One-day bowling was more attacking but first-class wickets were what everyone measured you by, he said.

And it is those first-class wickets he is looking to increase. At the moment his career record from 12 games stands at 36 wickets at 27.80.

Availability for the complete season could be a worry if selected. He has four days off between shifts and is hopeful he gets the breaks in the right place in his job and also that his holidays can be put to use to play.

He's expecting a tough competition in the Shell Cup this year, not only because of the prospective prize of a trip to Perth for an international tournament at the end of the season, but also because of the way several teams are shaping this year.

"Two rounds of Shell Trophy cricket will be good. When we had only five games it was not enough cricket," he said of the sentiment shared by most other players in the country.