Shane Bond: New Zealand is blessed with a golden era of talent

Former New Zealand fast bowler Bond also feels the continuity in selection process and the expsoure to IPL helped the players.

Shane Bond also feels the continuity in selection process and the expsoure to IPL helped the players.   -  C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The 2012-13 Cape Town Test in which Brendon McCullum's men were bowled out for 45 was the nadir for New Zealand cricket. The need to reconnect with the public back home was overwhelming. "Sometimes, to come a full circle, you have to start at the bottom end," says former New Zealand quick Shane Bond at a virtual press conference organised by Star Sports on Tuesday.

McCullum, who had replaced Ross Taylor as captain for the South Africa series, was leading the team for the first time. He chose to bat. What followed was an embarrassing collapse, during which Vernon Philander took five wickets in six overs. New Zealand's innings lasted 19.2 overs with Kane Williamson being the only batsman to enter double digits (13). South Africa won the Test by an innings and 27 runs.

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Bond says that that abject performance on the first morning of the series forced the players and those in charge of them to introspect. "New Zealand's bottom end was 2013 - being bowled out for 45 in Cape Town. The sit down between [then head coach] Mike Hesson and [then captain] Brendon McCullum [was the turning point] and the team deciding that this was unacceptable. We had to find a way to be successful and reengage the public, play in a way that epitomised everything it meant to be a New Zealander - hard work, discipline, humble, just getting on with the job without any fuss."

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Eight years later, New Zealand has reached two back-to-back 50-over World Cup finals, registered its first Test series win in England since 1999, and moved back to the top of the ICC Test rankings. It will now play India in the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton from Friday. "That's what this team has done. There is some serious talent. The McCullums, Boults, the Southees and the Williamsons... New Zealand is blessed with a golden era of talent. But talent's not enough. There has been very good coaching and continuity of selection. The exposure to IPL and leagues around the world have instilled belief within the group.

"For New Zealand to have made it to two World Cup finals, one at home and one away, is an incredible feat. The last step for us is to win that one major tournament ... to win that in Test cricket will be massive for us. When New Zealand lost that [2019 WC] final against England, I was gutted because a World Cup win could've taken the sport's following to another level in our country. This [WTC final] is another opportunity, and I hope they grab it with both hands."

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