Bond­ing time

Kiwi leg­end on his Ashes chal­lenge

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - By Andrew Alder­son

Shane Bond is about to de­but in test cricket’s longest­stand­ing ri­valry. On Novem­ber 23, the open­ing day of the Ashes se­ries at Bris­bane’s Gabba, his con­tri­bu­tion as Eng­land’s bowl­ing con­sul­tant will face scru­tiny against Aus­tralia.

Bond is fill­ing the role for the first two tests be­fore re­sum­ing as the Bris­bane Heat’s bowl­ing coach in the Big Bash League from mid-De­cem­ber.

Out­side of Clar­rie Grim­mett, Andrew Cad­dick and Ben Stokes, it’s hard to think of New Zealan­ders charged with more re­spon­si­bil­ity in an Ashes, cer­tainly in a coach­ing ca­pac­ity.

Since his ten­ure in charge of New Zealand’s bowlers ended with a maiden World Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ance in 2015, the 42-year-old has se­cured con­tracts with the Heat and the Mum­bai In­di­ans. He was also head coach on New Zealand A’s tour of In­dia last month.

Bond has been with Eng­land al­most a fort­night, choos­ing to of­fer a mix­ture of the clin­i­cal and the per­sonal in his ap­proach.

“I’ve prob­a­bly done it enough, es­pe­cially in T20 leagues like the IPL and Big Bash where there is big hype, big crowds, a fast turn­around and lots of pres­sure. I’ve just got to get used to do­ing that in a longer for­mat.

“As a coach I’ve al­ways said ‘I’ll tell you what I think and if you’re re­cep­tive that’s great; if not, we’ll find an­other way to do it’.”

Bond is in charge of an at­tack which in­cludes Eng­land’s top two test wicket-tak­ers in James An­der­son (506) and Stu­art Broad (388). Both were in­volved in the 3-1 away se­ries vic­tory in 2010-11.

“It’s al­ways chal­leng­ing be­cause you’re try­ing to build the re­la­tion­ship fast, but the boys have been good, es­pe­cially those two. I’ll lean on them be­cause they’re ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers who know the en­vi­ron­ment and have had suc­cess over here.

“Peo­ple won’t listen to what you say un­less you take the time to get to know them. Trust is a mas­sive part of the game, then you give them in­for­ma­tion in the back­ground.”

So does Bond rely more on lap­top data or gift-of-the-gab for per­sua­sion?

“These days I trust what I see with the bowlers, and my abil­ity to read peo­ple rea­son­ably well. I talk to the team and the coach­ing staff to start build­ing a pic­ture. It’s not about pi­geon-hol­ing any­one, but of­fers an idea into how they op­er­ate. If you come in new and want some­body to do some­thing for you, some­times it’s hard to do it based on an opin­ion. If you can present them with hard data, and prefer­ably stuff they haven’t seen be­fore, it helps builds trust.

“I’ve got a cou­ple of leg­endary bowlers here, but I want to be able to say ‘hey, have you thought about this?’.”

Bond said it was as much about fo­cus­ing on Aus­tralia’s bats­men as his bowlers, but he was rel­a­tively re­laxed un­til the hosts’ squad was fi­nalised.

“We know David Warner, Steve Smith and Us­man Khawaja will be there, but a chunk of the bat­ting lineup is still miss­ing.

“You get enough in­for­ma­tion from Jimmy or Stu­art against cer­tain play­ers, but for those who haven’t played as much in­ter­na­tional cricket, it’s not as rel­e­vant.

“I try to marry up their skill set to al­low them to dis­man­tle a bat­ting lineup. I like them to build a men­tal pic­ture so they know they might have to do some­thing in a test, like bowl­ing to a cer­tain field, rather than it com­ing as a sur­prise.”

The Ashes se­ries is ar­guably the most hyped in the world, but Bond has the pedi­gree to cope.

He made his in­ter­na­tional de­but in Aus­tralia dur­ing the sum­mer of 2001-02 and, af­ter tak­ing three wick­ets at 96.33 in tests at Ho­bart and Perth, scythed through the Aus­tralian and South Africa bats­men in the VB one-day in­ter­na­tional tri-se­ries.

His 21 wick­ets at 16.38 were seven more than any­one else in the com­pe­ti­tion. Those scalps made him a cricketing house­hold name, and re­spected in Aus­tralia.

“Like any­one when they come here for a se­ries, it can be slightly dif­fer­ent.

“If one of our bats­men fails it’ll be painted as a dis­as­ter; it’ll only be a mat­ter of time be­fore Glenn McGrath comes out and says the re­sult will be 5-0; then talk starts about how long it is since they’ve lost at the Gabba [29 years]. It’s a fa­mil­iar pat­tern, but a lot of white noise.

“What’s dif­fer­ent this time is that ev­ery time a No 4 down­wards scores runs [in the Sh­effield Shield], he’s a can­di­date to play in the test team; the bowlers are talk­ing about whether they should take an­other seamer and there’s con­cern about work­loads com­ing back from in­jury.

“That’s the sort of lan­guage you don’t of­ten hear here. Any bravado from the me­dia is not nec­es­sar­ily sup­ported by the team it­self.

“The Aus­tralian team has al­ways been good at home, but they’re not the team of 10 years ago. I think this will be a close se­ries if we play well and are or­gan­ised.”

Bond is in­trigued as to how the Bris­bane crowd might re­act, hav­ing been on his side dur­ing the last two Big Bashes.

“In New Zealand you might wan­der around the bound­ary [at a test] and hand some­one a drink with 3000 peo­ple there — this will be 40,000 and heav­ing.

“Maybe I won’t cop it as much in Bris­bane, given I’m nor­mally in the home team’s cor­ner.

“I’m in­tend­ing to take a few walks round to the hill [in this week’s daynight prac­tice match in Ade­laide] to see how much abuse I cop.

“I’m sure it will be hard case. We’ll see how well I can take it.”

Shane Bond is in­trigued to know how Bris­bane fans will re­act.

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