Shane Bond consistently clocked 145 kmph-plus © Getty Images
Shane Bond consistently clocked 145 kph-plus © Getty Images

Shane Bond, born June 7, 1975, was one of New Zealand’s fastest bowlers post the Richard Hadlee Era and Australia’s tormentor-in-chief. Injuries hampered his progress considerably, but he left the international stage after making a thorough impact with the leather. Karthik Parimal looks back at the punctuated career of this speedster.

Suave, supple on the feet and tearaway with the ball, Shane Bond’s inclusion was just what a wavering New Zealand side needed in the early 2000s. It soon became evident that one of the finest, and fastest, bowlers, perhaps after Richard Hadlee, had been unearthed from the region. Consistently clocking over 145 kph, he had most batsmen hopping at the crease in the domestic circuit, and was soon drafted into the national unit owing to his prowess. A gruelling debut against Steve Waugh’s Australia awaited him in the November of 2001, but he would soon make his mark on the international stage.

Bond was retained for the triangular ODI tournament that commenced immediately after the Test series against Australia, and it was here he announced his arrival with 21 wickets from nine matches — inclusive of a five-for and two four-wicket hauls, and also accounting for the wicket of Ricky Ponting on all occasions, thereby becoming the leading wicket-taker despite the presence of stalwarts like Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald. He instantly shot to fame, but with his growing popularity came the tiny niggles that were to haunt him for the rest of his career. Nevertheless, he was well warmed up prior to the 2003 World Cup and some of his performances there were perhaps the most memorable of his career.

Australians at the receiving end again

Bond’s presence bolstered a mediocre Kiwi attack and there was little surprise as he led New Zealand’s bowling averages in the tournament from the onset. In a Super Sixes fixture against Australia, he returned figures of 6 for 23, rattling the top-order and having them on the mat at 84 for 7. But once his spell was complete, the Australians trudged to 208 and inflicted a 96-run defeat upon their hapless rivals. Nevertheless, Bond finished with 17 wickets at an average of 18 to top the charts.

Soon after the World Cup, a stress fracture in his back hampered his progress. While it was initially deduced that he would return in a few months’ time, the state of the injury deteriorated, thereby forcing him out of action for a period of almost two-and-a-half years.

In 2005, he made an incredible comeback, producing two of his finest spells, in Tests and ODIs respectively, which eventually became his best figures. His six for 51 against Zimbabwe helped New Zealand win at Bulawayo by an innings and 46 runs, and later, in the triangular competition — featuring India as the third team — at the same venue, took 6 for 19. This resurgence augured well for the Kiwis, who were looking to build ahead of the 2007 World Cup in West Indies.

In the lead-up to this tournament, Bond faced injury worries, yet again. He nonetheless competed in 8 of New Zealand’s 10 games, taking 13 wickets at an average of 16, but he looked far from complete. However, earlier that year, he duly destroyed the Australians, taking a hat-trick in the final over of an ODI at Hobart. Such was his brilliance against the neighbouring nation that against them he took 44 of his 147 ODI wickets at an average of 15.79.

ICL and the subsequent return

When Bond was recuperating from an injury sustained on the tour of South Africa, talks about him joining the ICL made rounds. His contract was immediately suspended by the head honchos of New Zealand Cricket, but, in his autobiography Shane Bond: Looking Back, he claimed that he was a ‘victim of politics’, for the administrators had initially agreed to his defection towards the league and later backtracked. He represented the Delhi Giants, albeit without much success.

After being released from his contract and cutting all ties with ICL, Bond went back to representing New Zealand again. However, his stay at the top didn’t last long this time around. He played one Test before realising he couldn’t continue in the longer format with the frequent injuries plaguing him. One year later, after the Kiwis were knocked out of the ICC World T20, he hung up his boots from all forms of the game.

Just two months prior to retirement, he was purchased for a whopping $750,000 by the Kolkata Knight Riders for the third edition of the IPL. He played eight matches for the franchise, taking nine wickets at an Economy Rate of 7.23.

In all, he played 18 Tests and 82 ODIs, taking 87 and 147 wickets respectively, and left the scene achieving far less than what he could have because of injuries.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal )