December 27, 2009

Test cricket becomes poor with Bond’s exit


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The New Zealand cricket fans in particular could not have asked for a more terrible news on the eve of Christmas than the retirement of the mercurial fast bowler Shane Bond who will not be seen in action in Test matches any more.

It’s a sad news for every follower of the game all over the world. It used to be such a fascinating sight watching him test the greatest of batsmen in the business. He was a complete package and undoubtedly the best fast bowler produced by New Zealand since the great Richard Hadlee.

The 34-year-old Bond has announced his retirement from Test cricket due to a recurring battle with injury. He, however, has vowed to continue playing for his country in One-day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.

I am not sure how many more limited overs would he be able to play for New Zealand but it was the Test arena in which his absence was felt. Test cricket needed characters like him to keep it going.

New Zealand could find a replacement for him as far as the limited overs games are concerned but they might have to wait for many years to have a champion fast bowler like Bond in their Test line-up.

He had only recently revived his Test career and made a telling impact right away in Dunedin. New Zealand could not defeat Pakistan in either of the last two Tests in which he didn’t play. No wonder they would have lost the first Test as well if Bond was not there.

It was a pity that he had to withdraw from the squad after a superlative performance in the Dunedin Test in which was rightfully adjudged Man of the Match. He was not in a position to participate in the last two Tests after tearing an abdominal muscle.

Rather predictably the loss of Bond hurt the Black Caps immensely and they had to settle with a drawn series in the end.

The latest injury turned out to be far more serious than was being anticipated and it eventually cost Bond his Test career that had remained plagued with various disorders in the past when he faced problems in back, feet and soft tissues.

"The hardest thing is that I've always considered myself a Test bowler - and it was such a great feeling to be back in the team last month and playing Test match cricket with the Black Caps,” he observed.

"I've worked really hard to get back to Test match fitness - it's what I've been working towards for the past two years - and I feel I gave as much as I could. But looking back, so many of my injuries have come during Test cricket. Unfortunately my body just won't let me continue to play at that level, given the workload and demands of Test cricket,” Bond admitted.

"I don't want to end on an injury and I am absolutely committed to playing for the Blackcaps. This way I hope I've got a better chance of continuing to play. I hope I'll be able to continue to contribute to the team and to New Zealand cricket fans for a while yet. It's been a tough call, because Test cricket remains the ultimate form of the game - but I'm comfortable I've made the right choice,” he reckoned.


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