Bond plays straight bat to Aussie cricket crisis

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2013
Shane Bond
Reuters
SHANE BOND: "When you're near the bottom of the rankings like we are, you need wins and if it nips around then there's more chance of results."

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Plenty of Kiwi and English cricket fans were revelling in the self-destructive Australian tour of India yesterday.

But New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond and England wicketkeeper Matt Prior preferred not to put the boot in when given the opportunity in interviews.

Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all cut from the Mohali test, starting tomorrow, after they failed to provide feedback on their shortcomings to coach Mickey Arthur.

Bond offered support for Australia's captain Michael Clarke, who criticised the naughty foursome for showing "a lack of respect for the head coach, and in the Australian cricket team that is unacceptable".

"Knowing Michael, and obviously following cricket in general, I know he sets incredibly high standards for himself and as captain he is obviously doing the same for his team," Bond said.

"When you lose, everything comes into question really and they've had two pretty comprehensive hidings really by India.

"So he's obviously decided, particularly with the cricket that's coming up [Ashes series], that there sort of needs to be that line in the sand drawn.

"He's going to cop flak, he's going to cop probably some people who say ‘yeah, good on him'."

Bond said the tough stance might provide short-term pain but long-term gain for the Australian side.

"We have seen it in other teams in the past and being a former player myself, sometimes it's good to get that kick in the bum and remind you the sort of standards that you need to set. That's really what it is, not only for the team but probably other players who are on the verge of selection that hey, if you want to come into this team, this is the expectation.

"Although there will be a bit of grumpiness from the players, no doubt, and there will be some criticism, I expect it to go away pretty quick."

The English media appear more preoccupied with the upcoming Ashes series than the current one in New Zealand but Prior said that wasn't the case with the team.

"We've focused completely on what we need to do here," Prior said.

"It's one of those things that will make us start a test match badly, focusing on something that isn't relevant to what we want to concentrate on."

Prior wasn't interested in comparing England's off-field set-up to Australia's.

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"Coaching and management of every team will have their own ways of doing stuff. We have ours. I'm not prepared to go into too much detail about what that is. It works for us, so we'll continue doing that."

- The Dominion Post

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