| BOND: Looking to work up blistering pace
Christchurch: Besides the difficult conditions, the Indian team will be tested in New Zealand by a fierce Shane Bond, who backed himself to knock over the visitors’ strong batting line-up in the forthcoming Test and one-day series.
“I think the first Test is our big chance to hit them when they’re not used to the colder weather and the wickets,” said the New Zealand tearaway who is in terrific form this season, having clocked the fifth fastest delivery of all time (151.3 km per hour).
“They have some truly great batsmen and there is much less margin of error for us — but if they are mentally strong, I can be stronger,” said Bond.
India will play two Test matches and seven one-day Internationals during their 47-day tour.
Bond, a policeman, burst on to the international scene in tri-series Down Under last season. He grabbed 21 wickets from nine games to be adjudged the Player of the Series.
After recovering from a foot injury, Bond rolled over the West Indies on dull pitches, picking up two five-wicket hauls as New Zealand recorded their first ever series win in the Caribbean earlier this year.
“After Australia, I think India is the next best batting line-up, some would even debate that if you lined the two up against each other,” Bond observed, adding his team was fully prepared and that he was confident of scalping the “key” Indians.
“We started doing homework on the Indians when they were in Sri Lanka. We have tapes coming in from England from their series there for our video analyst as well,” said the paceman.
“To get those key wickets, you have to be patient even if it means not going for the wicket every ball but just wearing them down.
“It may take 10 overs rather than three to get to them but I’ll back myself to get those important wickets,” said Bond, who has his first look of the visitors in Wednesday’s Super Max game.
Even though Bond will get a maximum of four overs, he would look to establish an early dominance against Sachin Tendulkar and company with his blistering pace.
“My role is to bowl fast... I need to generate speed to knock them over. It’s all about putting the ball in the right area to try and get right up there. They’ve come from pretty flat tracks in India so if our wickets do a bit and bounce, we can beat them,” Bond warned.
Bond was adamant the foot fracture that took him out of last summer’s home series against England just after his sensational tour of Australia was a blessing in disguise.
“In all fairness, when I went to Australia for the Test series, my preparations were not ideal. I wasn’t as strong and as fit as I could have been, having to work as a policeman in between playing.
“In hindsight, that break after the injury was probably something I needed.
“I got on a diet, lost a bit of weight, worked on my action and assessed what I needed to do to be a pro athlete.
“When I came back, it all added up to some good performances in the Windies. I’ve had another two months training now — I’m leaner and stronger.”
To protect Bond from an early burnout, New Zealand Cricket imposed a restriction on the fast bowler not bowling more than 40 overs in a four-day match or 25 overs in an innings for Warwickshire next season.
Bond replaced South African captain Shaun Pollock as the overseas player for the English County side.
Named player of the year, Bond is among the 20 offered contracts by the NZC and is absolutely amazed at how the year has progressed.
“It is amazing and I keep telling my family I have gone through from a nobody to a hero in a matter of a year.”
Success against the Indians, Bond believes, will only add to his growing stature.