The genesis of New Zealand’s golden summer was in Dunedin, the country’s first home Test of the season.
That was a match where the West Indies scored 507 in its second innings to save the Test. The Kiwi bowling bunch was left frustrated with the Caribbean resistance.
Speaking on the subsequent turnaround, New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond said here on Tuesday, “We had a long chat after the game. It was then that we, as a bowling group, decided that we needed to show more aggression. We used the bouncers more, mixed the length. It worked.”
New Zealand’s pace trio of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner struck as a pack as the side won the next two Tests against the West Indies.
Then came New Zealand’s series-clinching victory against India in Auckland. Bond said, “The best indication was the Test at Auckland where we were under pressure. The pacemen showed great character to come through the period, attacked and hustled. We won.”
The former Kiwi pace ace who claimed 87 wickets in only 18 Tests in a career ravaged by injuries said New Zealand had a settled pace bowling combination now. “Trent (Boult) and Tim (Southee) are our strike bowlers. We also needed someone to do the donkey work, run in hard all day. Neil (Wagner) was the man. And Corey (Anderson) gives us another option as the fourth seamer.”
The 38-year-old Bond was impressed by James Neesham’s bowling. “There’s a lot more in him. I think he can be the quickest of the lot. And he has the potential to play the third seamer’s role. It’s a scenario where we can have both Jimmy (Neesham) and Corey in the team, strengthening our batting.”
Bond said the Kiwis had different plans for different Indian batsmen. “We studied each of them. Worked out what were the best options. The pacemen executed the plans.”
The former fast bowler said, “We knew it would be a risk if we prepared green pitches against India. If the wicket offers something, the seam presentation of the Indian pacemen is good.”
Bond said New Zealand’s focus was on next year’s ODI World Cup. “One-day cricket is a format where you can pick up five wickets one day and go for a hundred the next. How you recover from a bad day is the key. We want our bowlers to hang in there and fight even when the going gets tough.”
Left-arm paceman Boult could be in the team for the World Cup, he said. “He has all the attributes to play one-day cricket.”
Bond said he never attempted to change techniques as a coach. “I don’t allow them to slip into bad habits. Game plan, that’s where I mainly come in.”
He felt bowlers needed to evolve in international cricket. “When you start you have a surprise element. After a while, that starts fading. It’s then that you have to find something that keeps you going.”
Bond’s clearly revelling in his new role.