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Downcast Bond Stomaches Another Setback

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Shane Bond
Shane Bond

Wellington, Dec 1 NZPA - Barely three days after Shane Bond's resurrection as a test cricketer began triumphantly, the blight on the fast bowler's chequered career materialised, seemingly on cue.

Bond arrived at the indoor nets at Westpac Stadium here today, not to bowl, but to outline the latest injury to plague his career, a minor abdominal tear that has major implications for New Zealand in their three-test series against Pakistan.

Man-of-the-match in the first test in Dunedin with a match haul of eight for 153 in his first test for two years, the injury that forced him out of his previous test tour in South Africa has resurfaced to leave the downcast 34-year-old coy on his playing future.

Scans confirmed the tear and although Bond could have played in the second test starting at the Basin Reserve here on Thursday, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has taken a precautionary approach by sending him home for rehabilitation before a hopeful return against Bangladesh in February.

A replacement will be added to the squad -- possibly Tim Southee -- while Daryl Tuffey, who is already with the team, could be in line for his first test in five years.

There was a certain inevitability about Bond's latest setback given he had emerged unscathed from the limited overs assignments in Sri Lanka in September, the Champions Trophy in South Africa and the one-day and Twenty20 formats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Bond got through 40 overs in a rare four-day match for Canterbury to prove his fitness for the first test but another 48.5 overs of exertion at University Oval in Dunedin has taken its toll once the euphoria of a 32-run victory wore off.

"Just rerun the tapes mate," a philosophical Bond said when reporting yet another interruption to a test career limited to 18 caps since his debut in 2001.

Aware his abdominal muscles were vulnerable, Bond sought reassurance before spearheading a four-pronged New Zealand attack in recovery mode after last week's heavy workload.

"It's not what I expected. There was a little bit of niggle there during the game but during the last session (on Saturday) there was nothing," he said.

"I've had aches and pains there for a long time and when you go into a test with four bowlers you want peace of mind that everything's fine.

"I could probably play but if I did there was a chance I could blow it completely and then you're out for a long time."

Bond shouldered the biggest workload of the pace trio in Dunedin but he would not blame overuse for a setback that continues to define a career prone to injury delays before his sabbatical with the Indian Cricket League.

"I've prepared for this for the last four months. I've bowled a lot of overs in the nets and had the one-day series ... the amount of overs has probably attributed to it but that's cricket."

While NZC is confident Bond would be back mid-summer, he erred on the side of caution.

"I'm a positive person but I'm also a realist," he said.

"I don't like doing this, I feel like it lets the team down.

"I'm sure the team finds it a pain on the backside to have someone coming in and out all the time.

"I'll have to take some time over Christmas and have a think about it and see what we do."

New Zealand will be anxious to have Bond fully fit when Australia tour here in March-April although for the time being they will have to rely on Chris Martin and Iain O'Brien, the latter of whom at least had a positive prognosis on the middle finger he dislocated last Saturday.

"It's just sore, there's no fractures just a bit of bruising," he said after bowling a couple of gentle deliveries in the nets.

Both teams had to train indoors again today as rain lashed the capital. It is expected to clear tomorrow.

The amount of time the Basin Reserve pitch has spent under cover should provide even more assistance for pace bowlers already anticipating a bouncier surface than Dunedin.

That scenario makes Bond's absence even more frustrating for the home side.

 

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