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Bond believes bowlers could prosper

New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond agrees with the common consensus that batsmen hold the upperhand in Twenty20 cricket but, for that very reason, he believes there will be less pressure on the bowlers at this month’s World Cup.

“The nature of the game favours batsmen, the boundaries are shorter and you need to take wickets. To win a game you need to bowl aggressively,” Bond said yesterday ahead of the inaugural tournament starting next Tuesday in South Africa.

“But bowlers almost expect to get smacked around the park,” the 32-year-old added. “So maybe there is less pressure on the bowlers. And if you can bowl well you can win games.”

The Black Caps squad are still shaking off the rust from the off-season, but Bond said the players are getting into the swing of things and will be up for the challenge.

“On Tuesday I had my first day of bowling on grass in four months, and it was the same for a lot of the guys. But we’ve talked about making a determined effort to work hard on this tour.”

His team-mate, right-handed batsman Lou Vincent, expressed his love for the shortest format of the game. And the 28-year-old knows he plays an important part in the New Zealand squad, with his aggressive style at the top of the order, and needs to be at his best.

“I tend to throw the bat around too early, which is my downfall, but if I can get going early and give the middle order something to work on I will feel like I’ve done my job,” Vincent said.

And even though there is an aura of fun and excitement surrounding the first international competition in this format, the Black Caps – who reached the semifinals of the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year – are taking it seriously.
“We are here to perform (as individuals) because, if we don’t, we won’t be in the team. It has been slightly more relaxed, but we’re fitter than we’ve ever been and we’re here to win.”

Vincent doubts the Twenty20 game will ever replace the more regular Test and One-day International formats, but hopes it finds its own place in the sport and perhaps this international competition could become an annual event.
“I think you will find that Test cricket will never be eliminated, there is so much tradition behind it, and for me it would be very disappointing if it was.”

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