Shane Bond has announced his retirement from all forms of the game, less than a year after making his international comeback from the ICL wilderness. Bond ended his Test career in December, when he felt that his body could not handle the rigours of the five-day game, and he has now decided to step away from the shorter formats as well.
After returning home from the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, where he collected five wickets at an average of 29, Bond said he was unwilling to compromise his own standards for the sake of prolonging his career. Bond turns 35 next month and he will leave the game nearly nine years after his international debut, with 259 victims across all formats for his country, and he is not planning to continue in the IPL.
"I know the time is right for me to step down," Bond said. "I have given it everything when playing for the Black Caps. I will miss the camaraderie because it has been a privilege to play along such a great bunch of guys who are so committed to do their best for New Zealand. Playing with pride for the Black Caps over the years has meant so much to me.
"I dreamed of playing for New Zealand when I was six. The reality of what has unfolded was more than I could ever hope for and I have been extremely proud to represent New Zealand. I am going to miss a lot of this but I know now is the time to bow out. I am very keen at some stage to put something back into the game in New Zealand."
Persistent injuries meant Bond played far fewer internationals than he or New Zealand would have liked, and he departs with 87 wickets at 22.09 in 18 Tests, 147 at 20.88 in 82 ODIs, and 25 at 21.72 in 20 Twenty20 internationals. His absence from late 2007 until 2009 due to his ICL contract also deprived New Zealand of their best fast bowler.
Despite his impressive record in a small number of Tests, Bond's impact was felt as much in one-day cricket, where for a time he was the No. 1 ranked bowler in the world. His highlights included 6 for 23 in a World Cup game against Australia in 2003, when Ricky Ponting's men went through the tournament undefeated.
A genuinely quick bowler, Bond took a one-day international hat-trick, also against the Australians, and helped New Zealand to a World Cup semi-final in 2007. In an interview with Cricinfo this week, Bond said when he quit Tests he was unwilling to slow his pace and reduce the wear and tear on his body in an effort to extend his career, and he has now added 20- and 50-over cricket to that list.
"I find it difficult to hold back," Bond said earlier this week. "I just go hard. It hurt me. But I wanted to keep playing. I have had enough injuries. I am sick and tired of being in rehab, and if I did that one more time I would've been probably finished. I wanted to finish playing [Tests] rather than get injured and fall by the side. I'd rather have a shorter career and be successful than stretch it out and let my performance drop."
Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has felt more than most the regular absences of Bond over the years, as the other main weapon in the attack. Vettori said it was disappointing to lose Bond so soon after his comeback.
"For me personally it is a big loss," Vettori said. "I think he could still be a really good player for us for some time to come. But I know how much effort he puts in to stay on the park. He knows his body and he knows what he needs to do to prepare for international cricket. Sadly for us he has decided his time has come to an end."
Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, played against Bond in his final year for Auckland, when Bond was enjoying his first season for Canterbury in 1996-97. Vaughan said Bond would be a big loss for New Zealand.
"We shall all miss Shane in the international arena," Vaughan said. "His speed and ability struck fear into batsmen from every team in world cricket. He has been a real match-winner. Shane has had an inspirational presence about him and has been a great role model for younger team-mates. Shane will leave a huge gap that will be almost impossible to replace. We are saddened by his decision, but we support him and wish him all the best in his future."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo