Bond: 'Traffic cop job prepared me for international cricket'

On an dark cloudy evening in Visakhapatnam — the venue for India A versus New Zealand A — the latter's coach Shane Bond reminisces his days as a fumbling traffic cop and his successful sojourn as a fearsome fast-bowler in international cricket.

“I was fascinated by the speed gun, trying to beat what was the fastest, although I never considered I’d become the fastest,” said Shane Bond.   -  C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

At the turn of the millennium, a young police constable sent traffic in the wrong direction on a one-way street in Christchurch, New Zealand. Shocked, a fire engine driver, wondering if a blissfully ignorant motorist had gone mad, asked incredulously “What are you doing?"

It took some firefighting by senior colleagues in the force to restore order at the busy intersection. “It wasn’t my finest hour,” recalled that fumbling cop, who not much later, sent batsmen scurrying for cover.

“That job took me out of my comfort zone, placed me in stressful situations, helped my self-confidence and prepared me pretty well for international cricket,” New Zealand A’s coach Shane Bond told Sportstar on an evening darkened by dense clouds, casting shadows on the Bay of Bengal and spelling doom for prospects of play.

"Three sessions of physical fitness including boxing made me believe I’d worked harder and was primed better than the others to bowl"

-SHANE BOND



In uniform he’d rather talk
his way out of rough situations than use his hands. On a 22-odd yard strip of turf, however, he’d use them to devastating effect, saving his breath when it came to the verbals. “I understood there was no point in me sledging. I probably would have been hopeless at it,” admitted the former pacer.

“I was fascinated by the speed gun, trying to beat what was the fastest, although I never considered I’d become the fastest,” Bond remembered.

Steve Waugh, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar — he got them all. “Those were wickets you took pleasure in. It was great to get key players in big games,” he said.

“In order to be good, I had to be brutally honest with myself. Three sessions of physical fitness including boxing made me believe I’d worked harder and was primed better than the others to bowl,” Bond said of his work ethic.

His success as coach lies in not imposing himself. “My job is to get the very best out of players. It’s got nothing to do with me and my time. It’s been and gone. You can lean on your experiences because you understand the pressures."

“But I try to get them into that space where they are at their best. Develop relationships with players with no agendas, so that they trust and put their faith in you,” he said of his approach.