Pressure on Bond and he's happy to be accountable
As a bowler, Shane Bond almost instantly received cult status in New Zealand.
The former policeman came across as a nice guy, made opposition batsmen look silly sometimes and added some much-needed venom to a New Zealand cricket attack.
But the cult status brought with it more scrutiny and when Bond was battling injuries, especially late in his career, he came in for plenty of flak.
Being in and out of the team through injury, mainly to his troubled back, had some fans calling for him to pull the pin all together to save perceived disruptions to the team.
Now he's the New Zealand bowling coach; in charge of a group of handy, mainly young bowlers, who are improving but are a long way from the finished article.
Again Bond is evoking passion from fans, 2 years after he hung up his boots.
Some again have heaped expectation on him, thinking Bond brings with him some sort of magic spell others haven't thought of just because he was one of New Zealand's best quicks during his truncated career.
He is well aware of the public's perception of him and he likes it.
The 37-year-old wants the pressure; he wants the critique; and he wants to be held accountable.
"There is a bit of pressure with people thinking you're a quick fix - I'm not - but that pressure is the reason this level is fun," he said.
"I want to be in this job and to take on all that comes with it and the accountability is fine with me. I'm going to cop some stick along the way, as I did as a player. But I'd rather be in here and having a go and copping some grief, than not be here at all."
While the stereotype of the quick bowler might be angry, a tad single-minded and bullish, Bond is anything but.
He is cool and calculated, and still as driven as he was as a player, but now it's about doing the best thing for New Zealand Cricket and the national side.
Bond is a student of the game, a confessed "cricket head" and his analytical style not only fits in with head coach Mike Hesson's new approach but is another piece of director of cricket John Buchanan's numbers-driven puzzle.
While Buchanan has received plenty of stick for his approach, Bond defends it to the hilt and says the analysis is what is going to make New Zealand a competitive team.
"In the past, I think everything was based around what happened in the game; if you play well, they play well; if you don't, then you're dropped," he said.
"With that, there's a real lack of information. Why did that guy have a good game or a bad game? We need to know more, to know why."
Bond said that in his playing days he had an idea of what had gone wrong and, just as importantly, what had gone right but he could never have offered a complete picture so often didn't know exactly what to work on.
That's what he wants to change as bowling coach.
"You have to be better than that; you have to be able to offer more. You need to be able to say: this player plays best when he does this.
"What happens then is, if the player understands that, he can go about controlling what he needs to do to become professional, consistent and world class, and that's what we want."
He said it wasn't just about the physical side of things but the mental side too.
With more specific knowledge, Bond preaches, training can be more scenario specific.
"So when we come to a big match or we're trying to win a test and perhaps need three wickets and they need 30 runs, we've trained for that."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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