New Zealand have recently struggled with their bowling, especially on surfaces which are slow and low. Their fast bowlers are more used to seaming conditions and bouncy surfaces. The best example of that is the ICC World Twenty20 2012, where their pace bowlers did not make an impression with the ball on slow tracks in Sri Lanka. Former bowling coach Damein Wright was not able to address this problem effectively enough. To that end, former Kiwi pacer Shane Bond has been appointed as the new bowling coach for New Zealand, ahead of some challenging tours.
Bond was an outstanding bowler for New Zealand, as he had pace as well as swing. Many batsmen found it difficult to play him because not only did he get the ball to swing along with pace, he was also accurate in his length. He was New Zealand’s strike bowler, and whenever the situation demanded, he succeeded with the ball, and thereby took them to unexpected victories.
Having retired from the International arena two years ago, Bond has spent his time studying on coaching methods, and will now bring his experience to help New Zealand’s pace stock.
He has a significant task ahead of him, as New Zeland tour Sri Lanka and also South Africa, before they face England at home. These tours are important for New Zealand to get back into the groove after a demoralising World Twenty20 earlier this month. These challenging tours will certainly bring the best out of Bond as a coach, and he needs to bond with his team as quickly as possible.
He would be used to this Kiwi squad and that would indeed make his job a little bit easier, as he perhaps would have known each bowler’s strength and weaknesses. The way Alan Donald has proved to be a successful bowling coach for South Africa, Bond should also prove an effective bowling coach for his side New Zealand.
“Playing for New Zealand was the highlight of my career from a professional point of view, and I thought that once I finished, I’d have something to offer,” Bond said in Auckland. “The last couple of years have been about preparing myself to perhaps have the opportunity to take this role, and I’m just rapt that I got it.
“I’m pretty clear on what I want to do, and it’s just a matter of getting some buy-in from those guys. I think there’s respect there between myself and the players, I certainly won’t go in with a dictator’s point of view, and I think it’s just working alongside those guys and getting the best out of them.”
It was good to see that Bond was waiting for this opportunity, and that he was also prepared to take up this role. He also talked about the current New Zealand pace bowlers. “If you look at the players we’ve got, they’ve got the skills, and it’s not always about bowling fast. It’s just about being more consistent, not just within a game but game by game. I think we see good performances, game to game the guys turn up and really do well, but what we want is to see that on a consistent level. As a coach, it’s about getting a consistent performance, not only over a game, but a series and beyond.
“There’s challenges because you jump from format to format so fast, so preparation before tours is going to be important to give the guys the information they need to lead into each tour. Then it’s up to myself and them to implement some training stuff, so when they hit the tour they’re ready to go. That’s the way it’s been for a long time, and most of the adjustments are mental.” Bond concluded.
Bond will likely have to work with New Zealand’s bowlers on accuracy rather than pace. That’s because the Kiwi bowlers are able to generate pace, but often fail to be precise in their lengths. Bond as bowling coach could certainly be effective for New Zealand, and now it’s all about how appropriately they utilize him to come out as winners.