Andrew Alderson 's Opinion

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Andrew Alderson: Bond provider of 'additional material' in classic whodunnit

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Bond should be commended for such candid admissions which are unlikely to have come out otherwise. Photo / NZPA
Bond should be commended for such candid admissions which are unlikely to have come out otherwise. Photo / NZPA

Finally we have the answer to the whodunnit which left the New Zealand Cricket audience hanging over Christmas in the Ross Taylor captaincy saga ... Shane Bond.

Bond is the source of the "additional material" referred to at the December 11 media conference fronted by chief executive David White and chairman Chris Moller.

As a respected former cricketer, who the governing body once forced into premature international retirement when he signed in good faith with the supposedly "rebel" Indian Cricket League, Bond seems an appropriate scriptwriters' choice for what might or might not be the final act in the non-fiction tale "The Downward Spiral Of New Zealand Cricket". He would hardly have been suspected of holding such a sensational piece of information in what has been an unflattering NZC puzzle over recent months.

How Agatha Christie it all seems. Except Bond is no villain. He has merely drafted his thoughts, via a lawyer, to White.

Someone leaked it to Radio Sport.

Bond must be horrified, especially with statements coming up for public scrutiny such as, "I believe the coach has been dishonest in his assertion around the miscommunication of the captaincy split with Ross", "it was clear to me that Ross Taylor was to be removed as captain from all three formats" and "by remaining silent I believe I have become complicit in what has occurred, which I believe is the calculated removal of the captain and the subsequent cover-up to save face".

While it could be seen as a political move to protect any future head coaching ambitions, Bond should be commended for such candid admissions which are unlikely to have come out otherwise.

His rollicking letter went in front of White and Moller yet they did not deem the contents powerful enough to investigate further. They decided to go ahead with apologising to Taylor along with an "additional material" footnote which meant media continued to salivate over the issue.

At the time Moller claimed "no heads are going to roll", yet the "additional material" had not been analysed. Over a week later White eventually claimed: "We've studied all the information, we have thoroughly looked into it and drawn a line under it. We believe it's a case of miscommunication and misunderstanding. We now want to ensure we're prepared and focused for the challenges ahead."

Bond's letter is another of those "challenges ahead" - in addition to the results on the South Africa tour.

In NZC's defence there is a key point to note. Bond was never in the room when the miscommunication between Taylor, Hesson, manager Mike Sandle and assistant coach Bob Carter is alleged to have occurred. However, his outside observations are telling.

Remarkably, Bond and Hesson are understood to have worked well together over the past month, despite the claims. So where does this issue leave Hesson? He must be dipping into some serious inner tensile strength. He appears to have the support of White, the NZC board and the majority of the team but has been lambasted in the court of public opinion.

What has often been ignored in this fiasco is that Hesson faced a tough call with Taylor. In India and Sri Lanka, the dressing room had become dispirited. His captain's communication skills were not up to lifting spirits. Bowlers were tired of Taylor's remonstrations when, for example, they bowled a bad ball. A kind of vicious circle existed where poor results stifled performance.

It was easier to do nothing but, in the interests of the team's long-term success, Hesson chose to be bold and opt for a change in leadership. In the weeks, months and years to come, his tenure will be judged on that.

- NZ Herald

Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Andrew Alderson writes on sport for the Herald on Sunday. His main focuses are cricket and the Olympic disciplines. His most recent project was reporting on New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2013 northern summer. He has attended three cricket World Cups and three Olympics.

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