Bond Ready For Vital Clash

Reports & previews

New Zealand paceman Shane Bond says Friday's Group C showdown with England in St Lucia is a major step to glory.

New Zealand paceman Shane Bond views Friday's Group C contest against England at Beausejour in St Lucia as a major step in the path towards World Cup success.
This tournament's format allows points earned against fellow qualifiers to be retained in the next stage and so both countries will be keen for a good start ahead of matches against Kenya and Canada.
"It gives you some momentum going into the next round, it means you are not trying to catch up a game and you can afford to drop one extra game in the Super Eight," said New Zealand fast bowler Bond. "Also when you play the minnows you don't want to go in with a must-win attitude."
Bond will lead the Black Caps attack for the fifth time against England this year – the current score between the sides is 2-2 – but fellow fast bowler Mark Gillespie (shoulder) is out.
Thirty-one-year-old Bond has an outstanding record of 112 wickets in 59 one-day internationals and his raw pace will offer a threat on what are expected to be slow Caribbean pitches.
At his fastest, the former policeman has clocked 95mph.
"I am probably a yard behind the true express bowlers but above quite a few other guys," said former Warwickshire man Bond. "It's not always about express pace but I am quick enough to hurry guys up and get them to make mistakes.
"I've got better as I have got older and I will continue to try to be more wily as the body begins to shut down."
New Zealand arrived in the Caribbean with plentiful options but Bond inadvertently altered that when he hit Craig McMillan on the toe with a yorker at net practice yesterday.
Although X-rays showed only serious bruising, the all-rounder is a major doubt for the England clash.
Captain Stephen Fleming envisaged difficult selection calls in this tournament but Gillespie is already out and Peter Fulton (broken finger) was not going to be considered.
Despite being in fine form, with everyone fit, Fulton would have found it difficult to dislodge McMillan and Scott Styris due to their ability as medium-pacers.
"If the wickets start to die, even our part-time bowlers can become important in running their fingers over the ball and taking the pace off it," said Bond. "It could be the team that has the long depth of bowling rather than the batting which wins the tournament."