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The men who will matter: Shane Bond

Who will be the ?World Cup Player of the Series?? At the end of the event, several players will have contested that title.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2003 00:02 IST

Who will be the ‘World Cup Player of the Series’? At the end of the event, several players will have contested that title. The debate will start from now and continue over the next two months until one player is more dominant than his peers.

Whoever that player is will have had an impact on his team’s chances to enjoy success or possibly win the World Cup. In 1992, New Zealand’s champion batsman and captain, Martin Crowe was the leading run scorer with 456 runs at an average of 114. New Zealand lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals. In 1996, even though Sachin Tendulkar scored over 500 runs, Sri Lanka’s Aravinda De Silva was the batsman of the tournament with 448 runs at 89.60, as he guided his team to win the World Cup.

Whilst South Africa were beaten by Australia in the 1999 semi-final, Lance Klusener was the Player of the Series with a fine all-round performance — scoring nearly 300 runs with an incredible strike rate of 122 and capturing 17 wickets at an average of 20.59.

Also in 1999, New Zealand’s left arm pace bowler, Geoff Allott, was surprisingly the leading wicket taker with 20 wickets (most for the World Cup) but New Zealand still failed to make their first final.

Shane Warne also picked up 20 wickets but played one more game than Allott as Australia won the final and were crowned World Champions.

The name is Bond, not James of the 007 version, but Shane, "licensed to thrill" and get wickets. Over the last 12 months, Bond has been one of the biggest movers in world cricket and has developed a big reputation as being one of the fastest bowlers in the world.

He was timed at 153 kmph during the 2002 West Indies tour and he is consistently timed in the mid 140’s which is fast enough to hurry batsmen into false shots. Not only does he bowl at pace, but he swings the ball sharply into the batsman. I can recall the dismissal of Virender Sehwag when he was bowled with a fast inswinging yorker in the first one-dayer at Auckland and he also defeated and bowled Australia’s Adam Gilchrist with sheer pace in Australia during last year’s triangular series.

Bond arrived on the international scene as a replacement through injuries to Dion Nash and Shayne O’Connor during the 2002 Australian tour. He picked up several wickets in two Tests and he received accolades from the television commentators including Richie Benaud. However, it was in the VB triangular series where he captured 21 wickets against Australia and South Africa where Bond was named the ‘Player of the Series’.

All of a sudden his life had changed from being a police constable to a fully contracted New Zealand player and being the number one strike bowler in New Zealand and a new hero.

In 18 matches, Bond has captured 32 wickets at a very good average of 20.53 with a best bowling performance of 5-35. He has captured three 3 four-wicket hauls in his short career and captures a wicket every 27 balls which is world class. Whilst he may concede a few too many runs at times, the New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming knows he can call on a bowler who can break partnerships and perhaps win a game. Bond normally bats at number 11, but he could bat effectively at number 9. He is a very handy batsman who is capable of hitting sixes and fours and scoring 20’s and 30’s. Bond is not afraid of hitting other fast bowlers back over their heads.

If New Zealand are to be successful in the World Cup, Bond needs to remain fit and reproduce the form of 12 months ago.