Shane Bond blasts benign test match pitches

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:02 28/11/2013
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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Shane Bond has pleaded for spicy, bowler-friendly test wickets this summer.

The former quick and current New Zealand bowling coach wants the domestic and test pitches to offer more for the bowlers.

Dead and flat wickets, Bond said, did nothing to help promote the game and bowler-friendly wickets could help the national side lift its miserly test ranking.

"They need a bit of life," he said.

"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.

"Sure, you might get knocked over from time to time in those conditions and that's fine. But people want an even contest. Look at the Ashes.

"The Brisbane wicket for the first test was one of the best I've seen. It had pace, bounce and turn."

If New Zealand curators couldn't produce that, he said, they should still shy away from batter-friendly "boring" decks.

"If you can't get all of them like in Brisbane, then you need to go for one or the other," he said.

"Either start with plenty of movement then flatten out later or start good for batting then break up later and help the spinners."

University Oval, which hosts the first home test of the summer, against the West Indies next week, has produced two docile wickets the last two summers and two draws against South Africa and England.

Just because runs were being scored didn't make it a good test wicket, Bond said.

"A low-scoring test where the ball does a bit and batsmen have to work hard for their runs can be a good wicket too.

"Look at that test in Brisbane; the guys who batted well got hundreds, but there was something there for the spinners and the quicks too. That's what test cricket is all about."

Bond said it was an issue at the domestic level as well.

"You see teams win the toss and bowl first because they hope that if there's any life in the wicket they can use it, but also they have no fears about batting last on it."

New Zealand's first opponents this summer, the West Indies, would offer a sterner challenge than some predicted, Bond said.

But if the New Zealand bowlers, particularly the main quartet of quicks, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell were to bowl as well as they did last summer against England, the home side would be in good shape.

"I thought we bowled really well against England on really flat wickets.

"We probably outbowled their lineup." Fairfax NZ

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