Shane Bond's first order of business as New Zealand bowling coach will be to ease the minds of some former team-mates.
"I was a pretty stubborn, single-minded, driven player and I suppose there would always be a worry from the players' point of view that it would be my way or the highway.
"That's certainly not the case," he said yesterday, after being confirmed to succeed Australian Damien Wright through until the 2015 World Cup.
The fast bowler who took 87 wickets in an injury-plagued 18 tests, Bond will demand high standards of his charges next month in Sri Lanka, which include former team-mates Chris Martin, Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram. Preparation, attention to detail, intensity and competitiveness at training are Bond's non-negotiables. But he'll be there to listen and provide feedback, something that wasn't always the case when he played.
"The players have moved on since I played with them so it's about taking some time to see where they're at, strengths and weaknesses, just chatting with them and be willing to challenge them and push them and try and make them better."
That includes 37-year-old Martin, six months Bond's senior who is under pressure to keep his test spot against Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell. A chat with Martin is an early priority ahead of tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa, then the home and away series against England.
"Knowing Chris, he's always been very professional in the way he goes about his work and he's got a heap of experience to pass on.
"I'm just looking forward to having a sit down with him and a chat about where he sees himself going. It's always going to be his decision; where he wants to go and where we think we can make improvements."
Having gained his coaching qualifications and watched other coaches closely, Bond feels as ready as ever. He's worked with promising fast bowlers in winter camps but spin is more a grey area. Hence, he's already picked the injured Daniel Vettori's brains and wants to establish programmes for spinners and have them touring the sub-continent regularly.
"It's definitely not my area of expertise so I have to work alongside guys like Dan pretty closely."
Bond is excited about the pace bowling unit which made good strides under Wright and his predecessor, Allan Donald.
"If we can get that consistency we've got the skills and enough pace to cause a whole lot of trouble."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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