Wellington - New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond has accused national coach Mike Hesson of “sabotage” in his handling of the sacking of captain Ross Taylor, inflaming a crisis in New Zealand cricket ahead of a home series against England.
A letter written by Bond to New Zealand Cricket under legal advice, in which he gives a personal account of the circumstances of Taylor's sacking, was leaked to the media on Friday.
Bond claims that public statements made by Hesson on the manner in which Taylor's sacking took place are “dishonest”, echoing Taylor who has previously claimed leading figures in New Zealand Cricket have lied.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White responded by saying Bond's comments represented a personal opinion and a misinterpretation of what had taken place.
Taylor's sacking took place during New Zealand's tour to Sri Lanka late last year, at a meeting attended by Taylor, Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter and team manager Mike Sandle.
What took place at that meeting, which occurred only days before New Zealand's second Test against Sri Lanka, remains in dispute and has become an issue which has continued to fester.
Taylor has maintained consistently that Hesson told him he was dissatisfied with his captaincy and that he was to be replaced in all three forms of the game by Brendon McCullum.
Hesson, who was in charge of the New Zealand team for the first time, had previously refused to express confidence in Taylor as captain and was known to favour McCullum, his personal friend for many years.
New Zealand went on to win the second Test against Sri Lanka, mainly due to the efforts of Taylor - playing in his last match as captain - who scored a century in the first innings and a half-century in the second.
At news conferences conducted on the team's return to New Zealand Hesson repeatedly insisted that at the meeting in Sri Lanka Taylor had been asked to remain as Test captain but to relinquish the captaincy of the Twenty20 and one-day teams to McCullum.
New Zealand Cricket has also insisted that agreed with Hesson that a split captaincy - with Taylor and McCullum sharing the role - was its preferred option.
Taylor remains adamant that a split captaincy option was not discussed and that Hesson had made it clear he had lost faith in his ability to lead New Zealand in all forms of the game.
Bond's letter supports Taylor's version of events. While Bond was with the New Zealand team in Sri Lanka, he did not attend the meeting at which Taylor was fired.
Bond said he had been moved to write to New Zealand Cricket, with the assistance of his lawyer, when he heard public statements made by Hesson and New Zealand Cricket which he believed were misleading. He said it was “distressing” to hear statements made which he believed to be untrue.
“I believe the coach has been dishonest in his assertion around the miscommunication of the captaincy split with Ross,” Bond said.
“At no time during my conversations with Mike Hesson, that mostly included Bob Carter and/or the manager was the captaincy spilt ever suggested.
“It was clear to me that Ross Taylor was to be removed as captain from all three formats.”
Taylor subsequently refused to take part in New Zealand's tour to South Africa, saying he needed time to come to terms with the loss of the captaincy and his relationship with Hesson and McCullum.
He is expected to return for the series against England. In his absence, New Zealand lost both of their Test matches against South Africa by an innings, being bowled out for only 45 runs in the first innings of the first Test. - Sapa-AP