New Zealand paceman Shane Bond is all set to make his debut today against Sri Lanka. Not as a bowler, but the bowling coach of the New Zealand’s men’s team. New Zealand take on Sri Lanka in their eight-match tour that consists of one T20 international which will be followed by five ODIs and two Tests. In Bond’s first tour as a part of the Kiwi management, he will enforce his code of attacking the opposition.
Bond retired prematurely for the talent he had about two years ago and has ever since been studying coaching to be involved in the game. Bond now has replaced Damien Wright as bowling coach in pursuit of revamping and providing succour New Zealand’s bowling stocks. Bond’s stint as coach kicked off with the New Zealand women’s team for the World Twenty20, where they reached the semifinals.
Shane Bond comes with the thoroughbred status of being New Zealand’s best bowler since Sir Richard Hadlee, having 87 wickets at an average of 22.09 – ahead of Hadlee whose average was 22.29. Bond has been working towards developing impending talent in the Central Districts. He also helped develop Hamish Bennet’s action to a large extent. Bond not only has expertise to lend on the bowling front, but also on injury and the attitude that it takes to succeed having been one of New Zealand’s premier bowlers in the last decade. His knowledge and proficiency in every aspect of the game would lend much more than just backing for the already-talented New Zealand bowlers.
Bond is well-respected and revered as one of the greats amongst teammates – present and past – which is an added advantage given his appointment. His role would be more than just of that of a mentor with the challenges that lay ahead with tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa followed by taking on England at home; he would have to ensure he brings the best out of his attack.
Sometimes it is hard working alongside comrades as a coach, but Bond sees it as an advantage. “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 a 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.”
If you have been observing the New Zealand outfit for a while, consistency and not skill has been their perpetual problem. They have tremendous skill in their ranks going to waste. Bond realizes and picks out rightly what is required of the team now and what he needs to focus on.
“I’ve always been someone who’s been organised and professional, and it is just getting the best out of players,” he said. “I understand that it is their careers and they will have a way they want to get about their work. As a coach it is just about challenging those ideas and pushing the guys along so they can reach their potential.
“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 has summed it beautifully. With a coach having talent and understanding like he does, it is safe to say the New Zealand bowlers are in the right hands. Don’t be too surprised if you see a facelift in the Kiwi bowlers hereon. This might just be what the New Zealanders needed. What lies ahead are exciting times for New Zealand cricket – hope they make the most of it.