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Friday, October 29, 2010

Shane Bond's new book is due out. Worth reading, I'd imagine. I only saw Bond play once live, in a poor Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne in 2006. He didn't bowl very well, and Sanath Jayasuriya played a couple trademark whips and flicks off him, even as my father, seated next to me, grimaced and urged Stephen Fleming to keep a square third man for Jayasuriya.

That disappointing day did nothing to take away the effect of the man. I had followed his career from the time I read he was a former constable, and when I first saw him on TV it was evident he was fast. And that he could move a cricket ball. Swing has always fascinated me and seeing Bond make the ball talk against a struggling Indian batting line-up on a blustery Wellington morning was something special. The way he ran in, all fluidity and grace with that purist's action, was mesmerizing and a bit frightening. And I was sitting in the US watching it on the Internet. The yorker that did for Dravid was outstanding.

Most of my Bond viewing was during college and on the Internet. I will never forget his World Cup achievements (17 wickets), and that awesome display at Port Elizabeth, a match New Zealand had no business losing. Ball after ball, over after over, Bond ran in and terrorized the Aussies. Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting and Martyn were hopping, missing and nicking. Bond always saved his best for Australia.

Shame that Bond missed twice as many matches as he played for New Zealand. Could have been one of New Zealand's greats.

While in Sri Lanka last year, I had written this diary entry on watching Bond bowl in the nets on the eve of his New Zealand comeback. It is a memory I will always cherish.





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