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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Shane Bond is born - fast but fragile

New Zealand's Shane Bond
©Reuters
 

June 7, 1975 - If there is only one stat you want to know about New Zealand's tearaway pacer Shane Bond, this is it. Between Bond's International debut in November 2001 and his retirement in May 2010, New Zealand played a total of 307 matches. So ravaged was Bond by frequent injuries that he managed to play only 120 out of these - less than half.

Despite that, his career stats include 87 Test wickets from just 18 matches at 22.09, 147 ODI wickets from 82 matches at 20.8 and 25 T20I wickets from 20 matches at 21.72, adding to a total of 259 wickets.

Had Bond cut down on his pace, he could have played at least 50 more matches. But would he have picked up these many wickets, and at his average? Probably not.

One thing was for sure with Bond, he was a spectacle to behold. The searing yorkers, the scorching in-swingers and the ravaging pace upwards of 150 kph made him the most talked about bowler of his time. In New Zealand, he is celebrated as the the most potent bowler since the great Richard Hadlee.

Bond started playing domestic cricket in New Zealand in 1996, at 21. He had to miss the 1999-2000 season due to his dual role as a cricketer and police officer, but once he made his ODI debut against Australia in a tri-series in 2002, with South Africa as the third team, the pacer never looked back.

He picked up three wickets in his first game and recorded his first 5-wicket haul in just his 5th ODI against South Africa. In the nine matches of that series, Bond took 22 wickets at an average of 16.38 and was awarded the Man of the Series.

 

 

“I understood there was no point in me sledging. I probably would have been hopeless at it. I was fascinated by the speed gun, trying to beat what was the fastest, although I never considered I’d become the fastest. In order to be good, I had to be brutally honest with myself. Three sessions of physical fitness including boxing made me believe I’d worked harder and was primed better than the others to bowl,” Bond describes his modus operandi in international cricket.

He was one of New Zealand's key players in the 2003 World Cup and took them to the Super 8s. One of his career-best performances came in that very event against eventual champions Australia when he bagged 6 for 23, restricting the Australians to 208.

Bond was at his best against Australia. He pocketed a total of 50 International wickets against the rivals in 21 matches across formats at an average of 20.86. In the ODIs against Australia, Bond picked up 44 wickets at just 15.79, including three 5-wicket hauls.

He had Ricky Ponting's number. The Australian captain may have been one of the best batsmen to ever play the game, but Bond dismissed Ponting seven times in 17 matches, including his dismissal in each of the first 6 ODIs that he played against Australia.

Bond had to combat several injuries during his career, the most frightening of which was a back problem in 2003 which kept him out of cricket for about two years. During one of these injuries, Bond signed a contract with ICL in 2008 which led to his suspension by New Zealand Cricket.

The pacer returned to play international cricket but it was not a long innings this time. Just one year after that, he announced retirement from all forms of the game after the Blackcaps bowed out of the ICC World T20. The Kiwi played his last international match against England in 2010. 

 

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