Shane Bond feels he was a victim of politics

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WELLINGTON - Former New Zealand’s speedster Shane Bond, whose international career came to an abrupt end after he joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL), has said his career was sacrificed at the altar of politics.

Bond, in his newly released book ‘Shane Bond’, writes he became a “victim of politics.”

Bond, who was one of the first international players to jump the ICL bandwagon, claimed he was “betrayed” by New Zealand Criclet chief Justin Vaughan, who gave him a “cast-iron assurance” that he could play both in the rebel ICL and for the country as per his contract with the board.

NZC changed its stance when the Indian cricket board flexed its financial muscle and was instrumental in banning ICL and its players.

Bond says he couldn’t hold back tears when Vaughan said his contract would be torn up.

“I admit I lost it a bit here, and, for the first and only time, I swore at Justin.”

“‘You’re telling me my international career is over because you are fed up?’ ” Bond wrote telling Vaughan.

It was the moment that BOnd says it dawned on him that his decision to secure the financial future of wife Tracey and three children had backfired, and that he might never play for his country again.

Bond devotes two chapters of his new book, looking back to the bitter dispute with NZC, and fallout with Vaughan.

Bond said he agreed to be available for all his New Zealand international commitments, and received written confirmation from Vaughan that he was free to sign.

“The next call I received from Justin began ominously: ‘Shane, we have a problem’,” Bond wrote.

“You can’t play, we can’t pick you, you’re an ICL player.”

“What I’ll never understand is why it had to be one or the other, ICL or playing for New Zealand, especially when I received a cast-iron assurance that I could do both, and my contract with New Zealand Cricket certainly allowed for it,” a New Zealand website quoted Bond from his book.

“In the end, I became a victim of politics. As distasteful as that might be, I could learn to live with that, but what I can’t live with is the suggestion that in the end I didn’t want to play for my country,” he added.

“I tried to reason with Justin. `What do you mean? I’ve just played in South Africa as an ICL player and, if I hadn’t got injured, I would be playing in Australia, as we speak, as an ICL player. What has changed?’ ”

Vaughan’s responded: “People now know you’ve signed.”

Bond and NZC, via their lawyers, eventually reached an impasse, saying Bond’s contract was terminated by “mutual consent”.

Having previously agreed to remain silent on the issue, he put on a brave face in a round of interviews.

“Then I heard Justin talking on the radio and I felt betrayed. ‘What can you do if somebody doesn’t want to play?,’ he rhetorically asked when he was questioned as to whether NZC had done all they could to keep me playing.”

“I can’t tell you how much that hurt. Tracey and my mother were listening too and they were mortified,” Bond reveals.

Bond next saw Vaughan face to face before he toured India with New Zealand A last year, and found it “a bit weird”.

“I was over the bitterness I’d felt when I was originally forced out of international cricket and I was grateful for the way he had smoothed my transition back into it, but I guess I just wasn’t sure how to act around him. I suspect it was uncomfortable for him too.”

NZ Cricket Players Association boss Heath Mills points out in the book that ICC regulation 31.1, about “unofficial cricket events”, was not mentioned in the master agreement between the NZCPA and NZC.

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