Bond letter reignites captaincy saga
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."