Andrew Alderson

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

Cricket: Ex-paceman sets sights on elite coaching job

Subcontinental countries have become regular stamps in Shane Bond's passport but this time he could write "coach" rather than "player" on his arrival card in Sri Lanka for the women's World T20.

Bond is assisting former Canterbury team-mate Gary Stead in coaching the New Zealand side at Galle on the southern coast. The tournament runs concurrently with the men's.

The owner of New Zealand's second best test bowling average (22.09, behind Jack Cowie at 21.53 but ahead of Sir Richard Hadlee 22.29 for bowlers of more than 2000 balls) is effectively on trial.

He has made no secret he wants the New Zealand men's bowling coaching job, a post which Australian Damien Wright vacates at the end of this tournament.

The 37-year-old is in the final stages of his level three exams. He needs to tick off wicketkeeping and spin bowling under the tutelage of former New Zealand team-mate and spin bowler Paul Wiseman.

While Bond might be working on theory, he has a wealth of practical experience in wicket-taking, injury recovery and courage which could be useful to the New Zealand men's team.

Bond has the respect of former team-mates in the squad and those of a new generation who watched his New Zealand performances in the 2000s.

Many of those are the best thing Kiwi fans have seen with a ball PH (Post-Hadlee). However, Bond is aware exceptional players rarely make exceptional coaches. He is prepared to work.

"I understood what it took to reach a relatively successful standard, yet I appreciate I would have done some things differently," he says. "Hopefully I can pass that on as a coach. I know there are guys in the team I played with, so that presents a challenge being in a different role but it's a problem I'm prepared to deal with.

"Since I've finished playing, I've realised I still love cricket. I'm a huge watcher and enjoy the analytical side. It seems a natural progression to coach at the elite level because it's where I had the most fun in the game. In my time away from the New Zealand environment, I've had a variety of coaching experiences. I'm lucky to have worked with the CD (Central Districts) development squad for a couple of years and alongside top coaches like (former Canterbury and now New Zealand assistant) Bob Carter and (new Canterbury coach) Gary Stead. Being given the opportunity to coach the country's top women has been a key part of that.

"It's a big challenge working shorter term with this group. I would love the chance to do something longer term. I love the way Suzie (Bates) goes about her work as captain, dealing with the players. We've gone through all the opposition, worked out their strengths and weaknesses and offered ideas on possible fields to set."

Regular whispers float through cricket circles of Bond's dedication to working with some of the country's promising pace bowlers, especially in a CD nursery boasting Adam Milne, Ben Wheeler and Bevan Small (he of the youtube.com catch) among its proteges. Bond has helped remodel former New Zealand player Hamish Bennett's action and mentored Wellington bowler Tipene Friday.

"I have helped with development work by planning trainings to give them purpose. Sometimes at training we don't maintain the level of accuracy we need. I looked at building programmes where, for instance, someone will bowl eight high intensity overs in the nets; incorporating skills into their routine. It's also about including specialists; former New Zealand physio Bryan Stronach did a lot of the fitness programme.

"You always need a process where people are challenged. Even though I've got a pretty good test record, I didn't start until late. Sometimes you never know who will succeed until you push. As much as you don't like it sometimes as a player, it is necessary to take people out of their comfort zone."

Speaking of such zones, Bond is out of his. He has an extramural Master of Business Administration on the go from Massey University (a thesis on Canterbury cricket governance is due in March), he has worked as an ambassador with the National Bank for domestic cricket and he has been beamed into the homes of millions as an analyst for an Indian network's 2011 World Cup show where he worked alongside Barry Richards and Sanath Jayasuriya.

A renowned family man, such escapades have left Bond less time to be husband to Tracey and father to their children Katie, Hayley and Ryan, especially in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes.

After the February 22 jolt, Bond told the Herald on Sunday: "There was a numb feeling - a helplessness being here in Mumbai. Tracey is strong and she would tell me to come home if I was needed. My kids were at school and got a hell of a fright when it happened. I also try to speak to my mum and sister every day."

Life has gradually returned to normal and Team Bond's support means he juggles family life with his career.

"You've got to engage the brain outside cricket. The reality is I tend to do jobs where I head away from home. We're used to it, given I did it for so many years with the New Zealand team. Tracey is happy supporting me.

"However, there can be a bit of grumpiness now and again. Like when I'm up to midnight working on this MBA."

Andrew Alderson flew to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka courtesy of Emirates Airline.

- Herald on Sunday

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