Shane Bond backs attack bowling mindset
Attack,attack, attack is the new ethos Shane Bond will bring to the Black Caps bowling unit as they embark on "a very, very tough" tour of Sri Lanka.
New Zealand start their eight-match tour on Tuesday with a one-off Twenty20 international followed by five ODIs and two test matches.
It's Bond's first tour in the management team and he's keen to build on the good work done by his predecessor, Damien Wright.
And while the New Zealand public see Sri Lanka as one of the least sexy teams in world cricket and one the New Zealand side should at least compete with, Bond warned in their own conditions, on unresponsive and doctored wickets, they would be an extremely difficult side to break down.
"The Sri Lankan players, in their own conditions, are very good," he said this week.
"You've got a guy like [Thilan] Samaraweera who averages 50, Mahela [Jayawardene] and [Kumar] Sangakkara are two of the absolute great players - I think they're at late 20s or early 30s in terms of hundreds each so they're outstanding.
"Then you have a guy like [Tillakaratne] Dilshan of course. They'll be very, very tough to beat in their own conditions."
These four players have 89 test centuries between them; the entire 15-man New Zealand test squad have 18. "And they'll more than likely doctor wickets that are going to turn. That's what I heard when I was over there last time," Bond said.
It's a tough first-up assignment for the former quick, but one he's excited about. It's also one he's clearly given plenty of thought.
"You have to remember, they [Sri Lanka] are good, but they do lose at home. And it becomes a mindset for our bowlers."
He said because of the draining heat and sapping humidity, it was very easy for bowlers to go quickly into their shell or adopt a survival mode even if it was a subconscious act.
"But if you do that, it can be even worse because you can end up in the field for a day and a half.
"Attacking is the key. You might set defensive fields, but you need to . . . bowl with an attacking mindset."
In the one-dayers, attacking would still be key, Bond said, but being clever was important, too, and knowing plenty about the locals and any weaknesses.
That will be another role for Bond - scouting the Sri Lankan batsmen and passing on anything he can to his new charges.
He won't be reinventing the wheel with the New Zealand bowlers and was fast to point out he's no quick fix to a New Zealand team struggling for wins, but the analytical Bond hoped he could add something across the board to the Black Caps.
The New Zealanders have been given one break, a side strain has ruled spinner Ajantha Mendis out of the T20 match and first three one-dayers. Mendis, who spins the ball both ways and has a range of different deliveries, has troubled the Kiwi batsmen in the past.
Another "mystery bowler", 19-year-old Akila Dananjaya, has been included in the Sri Lankan T20 squad while spearhead Lasith Malinga has been rested and Rangana Herath has been dropped.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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