New Zealand news January 18, 2013

Bond letter reignites captaincy saga

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Bond, the New Zealand bowling coach, has insisted that he and the head coach, Mike Hesson, have put behind them any disagreements over the handling of the team's captaincy changeover. Bond said he and Hesson had developed a good working relationship during the ongoing tour of South Africa, the team's first since the series in Sri Lanka last year when Ross Taylor was told he would be replaced as captain.

On Friday, a letter from Bond to New Zealand Cricket emerged in media reports and in it Bond expressed his belief that Hesson had been dishonest in his assertions after the Sri Lanka trip that the intention was always to split the captaincy and leave Taylor in charge of the Test side. Bond wrote that at no time during his conversations with Hesson was a split captaincy ever suggested.

"I believe the coach has been dishonest in his assertion around the miscommunication of the captaincy split with Ross," Bond wrote in the letter. "At no time during my conversations with Mike Hesson, that mostly included [assistant coach] Bob Carter and/or the manager, was the captaincy split ever suggested. It was clear to me that Ross Taylor was to be removed as captain from all three formats."

Bond also wrote of his reaction when he arrived in Galle ahead of the Test series to be told that Hesson, Carter and the team manager, Mike Sandle, had attended a meeting with Taylor at which Taylor was told he would lose the captaincy at the end of the tour.

"On arrival in Galle I bumped into Bob Carter in an open corridor where he informed me he'd just been in a meeting with Mike Sandle and Mike Hesson where the latter told Ross he was no longer wanted as captain," Bond wrote. "Bob was clearly a little stunned and commented on how upset Ross was.

"I later bumped into Mike on the way to dinner. He informed me that he'd told Ross he was no longer wanted as captain. I stated that the timing was completely inappropriate and he had most likely affected the ability of the captain to perform and it seemed like sabotage."

New Zealand lost the first Test to Sri Lanka but won the second, a match in which Taylor led from the front with innings of 142 and 74. After the squad returned home, Hesson told Taylor he wanted him to stay on as captain in the Test format only, while Brendon McCullum would take over in the limited-overs formats.

In a statement on Friday, Bond did not dispute the content of the letter but said he and Hesson had moved on since it was sent several weeks ago.

"As has been outlined publicly, I wanted to share my views and opinion on the captaincy situation and did so in the form of a private letter to New Zealand Cricket," Bond said. "I want to go on record saying that I met with Mike Hesson several weeks ago, we have discussed the content of the letter, and put it behind us.

"We have developed a good working relationship during this tour and are working closely together to make this team better. I want to keep working hard with the other support staff so we can improve the performance of the team. As far as I'm concerned we have dealt with the matter, it has been put behind us and I won't be making any further comment."

David White, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, said Bond was one of several team managers who reported back to NZC about the captaincy situation.

"Unfortunately his report was received by NZC late in the evening prior to the planned press conference scheduled for the following day and was the 'additional material' referred to by chairman Chris Moller," White said. "We believed the content of Shane's report to us merited further investigation over a longer period and we made extensive inquiries of team management.

"We found considerable variance with Shane's account in the assessments given to us by the other members of the senior management team. After much investigation NZC's final conclusion is that the problems that arose over the captaincy issue were the result of misunderstanding and poor communication between the parties involved.

"The important thing to recognise is that Shane wasn't in the room at the time that the captaincy discussions were taking place. However, we have heard his concerns and have discussed them with him and the team management. Both Shane and NZC have now amicably resolved the issue."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jon on January 19, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    McCullum was on the news tonight stating that he had no idea that Taylor was going to lose the captaincy until NZC CEO David White offered him the job after the Sri Lankan tour.

    This is almost certainly a lie. Does he really expect anyone to believe that Hesson would axe Taylor without having him lined up to take over? That would be utterly ludicrous, even by Hesson's standards.

    In an earlier interview McCullum had stated that when White offered him the captaincy he felt that he needed to take the helm to shield Kane Williamson, who is apparently being groomed as a future captain.

    Are you kidding McCullum? Do you expect anyone to buy that?! Everyone knows that you wanted the captaincy when Vettori stepped down! That's why NZC took several months to name Taylor as captain, even though he was clearly the best choice.

    Hesson and McCullum have destroyed this team and they are both lying now to save their skins. This team would better off without them!

  • alesana on January 19, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    New Zealand Cricket deserve the drubbings they have been receiving on & off the field. I agree that some of the criticism levelled at John Buchanan seems unfair. His cricketing record speaks for itself. Speaking of records, how can Brendan McCullum be the test captain when on batting alone he would struggle to make the starting test eleven? New Zealand Cricket as a whole has to be honest & accountable with itself if it wants to "move on".

  • Sameer on January 19, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    Its amazing that a person who has not played top level cricket is made a coach and allowed so much authority

  • Jon on January 19, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    NZC has the wrong people in key positions at multiple levels -including coach, captain, director and CEO. It's going to take time to right all those wrongs but Hesson and Carter should be sacked the second they step off the plane.

    Wellington coach Jaime Siddons can take the side for the English series - he knows most of the players and he's done good things with the Firebirds. We need to offer him a 4-year coaching deal so he has time to rebuild. Martin Crowe and Shane Bond would be my pick to coach batting and bowling.

    I'd drop McCullum from the test side altogether - let him concentrate on the shorter forms. Taylor should be reinstated and if he doesn't want the job then Vettori can play out his career as skipper.

    If we field this side for the English series we might be able to actually compete --Watling, Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder, Brownlie, Vettori, Ronchi, Southee, Bracewell, Boult.

  • Kevin on January 19, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    While no one has been shown in a good light by all this, one person who seems to have escaped all criticism is Ross Taylor. Personally I think he has damaged NZ cricket as much as anyone by not accepting the captaincy decision and staying on with the team, resulting in this story being blown even more out of proportion. Is he really that emotionally fragile? If so is he even tough enough to be an international captain? Hundreds of players would give their right arm to have the opportunities he has had to play international cricket, yet he acted like a cry baby school boy, took his ball and went home. Completely unprofessional in my opinion. Kim Hughs Mark 2. Ah well, its all completely consistent with the fiasco that is NZ cricket in general.

  • Alan on January 18, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    I've had it with NZC constantly trying to sweep this under the carpet, hoping a few wins will make everyone forget all about it. Well guess what NZC, I will never forget about it, no matter what happens in the future. Even should we win the WC, I will always remember Hessan, White, and Moller as the guys that think it is ok to blatantly lie, not just to their players, but to the paying public. They have ruiined my enjoyment of the game I love. As much as I dislike Buchannan for his role in Wright's resignation, he is right that until NZC show some honesty and integrity, we will continue to wallow in the mire. By those comments, he seems to think Hessan was lying, Taylor definitely did, I always have, the majority of the public does, and now it seems Bond also thinks Hessan is lying. Until there is some accountability we will NOT move forward. Please NZC, and especially Hessan, do the right thing...

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    I'm not sure how else NZ expected this test series to turn out. Compare the averages of batsmen 1-6 in each side: 1 - 42 vs 31; 2 - 49 vs 35; 3 - 51 vs 30; 4 - 57 vs 34; 5 - 49 vs 26; 6 - 111 vs 33. Add to that bowlers ranked 1, 2 & 8 in the ICC rankings vs none in the top list. Unfortunate though that NZ's only batsman with an average above 36 (Taylor - avg 44) wasn't there. On the other hand this squad (with Taylor) have beaten Aus and Sri Lanka in recent times - despite the stats. The 'back-office' folks shouldn't have meddled with the formula.

  • Mike on January 18, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    @bat_bowl_field-sorry mate, NZ Crickets problems were evident way before John Buchanan got involved in there set up,how you attribute the blame soley on Buchannan mystifies me.NZ Cricket need to face up to the problems.NZ cricket board has as much infighting as the Carribean cricket boards.blaming the Australian involved may make you feel better as a Kiwi but the blame rests with the NZ crickets inability to get there house in order

  • des on January 18, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    NZ were always known as a tough no-nonsense team who punched above their weight. Why have they turned into a soap opera?

  • sam on January 18, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    McCullum should never be captain because his batting, though very attractive, is not sound enough to negotiate swing bowling, seam bowling or even quality spin bowling. Only Ryder and Taylor are good batsman. Williamson and BJ hold some promise as well.