There has been a lot of talk recently about Shane Bond who pulled out of the Black Caps latest match with a back concern.
The guy seems to attract injuries like Shane Warne attracts text messages from English chavs. It was suggested on sports radio that he was fragile and had broken down so many times in recent years that the slightest twinge would cause him to withdraw from playing until he was cleared.
Some of the bigger boofheads in NZ sports circles have said that often you have to play through a bit of pain, that the niggles are just that and tend to stay as niggles. They suggest that Bond is now paranoid or gun shy and panics with the merest stiffness or discomfort.
When you bowl at the level of cricket Bond does, the slightest error gets punished. He could get away with bowling with a few ‘niggles’ in club cricket but when you are bowling at the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara there is no room for error. At the ODI level bowling at 100% and bowling at 90% can mean the difference between 10 overs for 30 runs and 3 wickets and 8 overs for 45 runs and no wickets.
So what does our Shane do? Bowl at less than 100% physical fitness and come away looking like Kyle Mills (despite his figures the other day, he is a horse’s arse).Or does he rehabilitate again, spending months on the sideline. Poor Bond is really in a bad situation, damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
And here is where we the sporting public stop being so bloody selfish and let the guy do what is good for him. We are not the ones who will be struggling to get out of bed at age 50 because every movement of our back leads to crippling pain. We are not the ones who won’t be able to bend down and pick up our grandchildren because our knees have been reconstructed so many times there is no longer any cartilage to support them.
Piss off and leave him alone NZ. Just marvel at what he does when he is fit and wish him a speedy recovery when he is not.
Still with cricket:
That we have place so much pressure on one man to save our bowling attack is as much a reflection of our shocking grass-roots cricket level and lack of nurturing of young talent as it is our on sports fanaticism.
We are always in search of the next fastest fast bowler. Is that really necessary? Glenn McGrath, the best, most effective fast bowler his generation, never topped 140km. NZ cricket sit waiting on the edge of their seats with fingers, toes, legs, arms and even eyes crossed, hoping, just hoping that Bond will be fit for the next campaign. Instead they should be looking at finding the next Glenn McGrath or better yet, the next Richard Hadlee, who used cricket smarts, patience and guile better than any other cricket of our lifetimes. He was a fast bowler, but he was never a super quick bowler, like the Lee’s, Harmison’s, Jones’s, Bond’s or cheaten Aktar’s. Yet he took an amazing amount of wickets and had opposition batsmen continually on the back foot.
Cricket is a great game that way. Unlike so many other sports such as NFL, Football, Rugby, League, and Basketball, where the strongest and fastest teams will win more than lose, Cricket stands only with Baseball as sports where intelligence and cunning can march evenly with speed and strength.