Shane Bond has reflected on his first season coaching Sydney Thunder in the KFC Big Bash League, after being appointed Head Coach in 2018.
His coaching career has seen him involved with the Brisbane Heat and Mumbai Indians, as well as the England and New Zealand national sides, however this was his first opportunity to lead a side.
“I loved it. It was a combination of excitement and stress at the same time,” said Bond, who is committed to the club until the end of BBL|10.
“It was obviously disappointing not to make the semi-finals but hopefully we’ve put down the foundation for an exciting season not only next year but the years following as well.”
Thunder’s BBL|08 campaign ended on a bittersweet note, with a four-wicket win over the top-placed Hobart Hurricanes not enough to secure a semi-finals berth.
However Bond said there’s plenty of positives to take away from the season.
“We got ourselves into positions to win most games. We were extremely competitive. I think we showed a little bit of inexperience, there were times we probably could’ve won games, but we had a relatively inexperienced team in terms of our middle order. We put guys in the position to have a go and I was really pleased with how they responded in some really tough situations.
“Last year was a chance to give some guys who hadn’t played before, the opportunity to play. Jason Sangha, Matt Gilkes, Baxter Holt, Dan Sams. With inexperience is going to come a little bit of inconsistency, but we felt we gave them a long, consistent run of games and we’re really looking for the benefit of that in the upcoming season.
“The beauty of 14 games now is you get a little bit more experience under the belt. We’re building our roster pretty strongly for the upcoming season and I’m really excited for what the season holds.”
With a mix of rising stars and experienced performers, Bond is excited about how Thunder’s squad is shaping up for the upcoming season.
Thunder’s BBL|08 leading wicket-taker Daniel Sams recently extended his contract to see him remain at the club for the next two seasons, while Mike Hussey Medallist Callum Ferguson is committed to the club for at least one more year.
“I feel like we’ve done really well. We’re trying to find that nice blend of youth and experience. We were really proactive at the end of the season in signing up guys that we wanted to keep and also targeting some players from interstate.
“I’m really excited, I think we’ve got a really deep squad and a squad that can certainly do well in the competition.
“The beauty with our players is that they really want to play for Thunder, they love the club and they’re excited about what we’re trying to do on and off the field.
“I think we played some pretty good cricket last year and got pretty close, but I think this season you’ll see a step up from the boys and I think everyone’s excited about that.”
The Membership renewal window for BBL|08 Members is open now, with Memberships set to go on public sale on 11 July.
The full BBL|09 fixture is expected to be released in the coming weeks.