Kiwi Bond: Licensed to rattle opponents

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

'The name', intoned the ground announcer, pausing for melodramatic effect, "is Bond. Shane Bond."

Cue for knowing chuckles among the county regulars as the New Zealand fast bowler paced out his run for his first match for Warwickshire.

Like Daniel Craig, the man credited with reviving the James Bond franchise in "Casino Royale", Shane Bond has been known to change his hair colour from brown to blond and back again.

He also has the capacity to absorb seemingly endless punishment, coming back from potentially crippling stress fractures to his back and feet to reclaim his place among the world's swiftest bowlers.

At that point the analogy has probably gone far enough, apart from a shared stint in the Caribbean where some early scenes from "Casino Royale" were filmed and where Bond will take up his place at the head of the New Zealand attack in next month's World Cup.

Over the years, New Zealand have fielded a succession of honest medium-fast toilers but only a sprinkling of genuine express bowlers. Bond is the fastest of them all.

Athletic and relaxed, Bond sprints to and through the crease with a whippy front-on action which can generate ferocious pace.

He bowls a searing yorker, a well-concealed slower ball and a nasty throat-high delivery. His action slants the ball into the right-hander and away late from left-handers, who have habitually found him a torrid proposition.

Bond has a particular liking for Australian opposition, taking six for 22 at the 2003 World Cup in a match New Zealand should have won. This month he took five for 23 against the Australians in a match his team did win.

In 11 matches against the Kiwis' trans-Tasman rivals he has taken 34 wickets at a miserly 13.88 runs apiece.

It is not overstating the case to say the former Christchurch policeman will carry New Zealand's hopes with him in the West Indies. He can be expensive when he loses his line but on song he can run through any batting lineup in the world.

Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop expressed his admiration for Bond while commentating for television at last year's Champions Trophy in India.

"I was never as fast after one stress fracture in the back," he said. "He's had two."

During the tri-series this year with Australia and England, Bond told the New Zealand Herald he was still playing through back pain.

"It still aches," he said. "I can deal with the pain but when it diminishes, the back spasms and almost locks up."

But Bond said he had not lost any pace during his lengthy injury layoffs.

"It is still there," he said. "I don't think I've lost any pace from what I had. As I play more I'll get stronger and be able to maintain it."

The New Zealand team and their supporters will be praying his body holds up for some time yet.


Write Comments