At the peak of his game, Trent Boult caught everyone by surprise when he declined New Zealand’s central contract after the T20 World Cup last November. He may not have been picked to play international cricket since but if the first two games for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL are any indication, he hasn’t lost any bit of his potency with the ball. He spoke to TOI on a range of issues since the big decision.
Coming back to Rajasthan Royals, has your routine changed as a freelance cricketer this year?
My routine stays similar to what it has been to my international career over the years. It’s always a challenge coming into a new franchise and a new year. I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Rajasthan Royals and it’s a continuation of the environment of last year into this year. Kumar Sangakkara and his support staff are very involved and research things very well.
What are the pressures of franchise cricket?
There’s no real pressure. It’s just different types of experiences. I am lucky that I learnt how cricket is played in different parts of the world through international cricket. For a New Zealand cricketer, coming from small grounds favouring seam and swing where there were literally just 100 players, the biggest challenge was adapting to conditions like Guwahati and Jaipur. I am probably towards the end of my career, I am just trying to have fun and inspire a couple of youngsters in the squad.
Trent Boult. (AP Photo)
Has your decision helped you enjoy and focus on the game?
I have always focused well and enjoyed all the three formats of the game. Obviously, there’s more cricket through international cricket and the leagues. It’s natural for everyone to move through stages of their lives. Things happen off the field for cricketers as well like getting married and having kids. Circumstances change. I have three young boys at home who I didn’t see much. I can now pick and choose when I can be with them. It’s created more of a drive to come out and stamp my authority on big tournaments and games.
How do you plan a spell in T20 cricket when you are just playing franchise cricket?
The key ingredient is to have a good relationship with the bowling attack. There’s some good stuff going around behind the scenes like creating a culture and friendships. I was involved with a couple of exciting fast bowlers last year like Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Sen. They have been a big loss. It’s exciting when you move between different styles of bowlers.
Do you think about the colour of the ball when you are at the top of your run-up?
(Laughs) Without telling you too many secrets, it’s basically the same approach. I am trying to bowl an inswinger at the stumps. I had different roles in different squads. Here at Royals, my job is to take early wickets which is significant in this format. Enjoy when it’s your day and take lessons when it’s not.
How has your role changed at RR?
As you get older, roles change. The best thing about IPL is you rub shoulders with people you have never dreamed of. I remember my first season at Sunrisers Hyderabad, I was opening the bowling with my idol Dale Steyn. He was early 30s and I was in my early 20s. That’s exactly where I am now in my career.
Trent Boult. (IANS Photo)
You played all three formats and leagues but you have rarely been injured…
There’s no golden recipe. The thing that gives the best chance of succeeding is a strong work ethic. As you put in the yards, there’s the need for good technique. Big part of the game is psychology. Mental toughness separates you from those doubts and thoughts of getting injured. The best fitness routine for bowling is to bowl. Fast bowling is quite abnormal on the body. There’s a fine line in balancing bowling too much every day. Majority of the changes happen when your body changes when you are young. My career started when I was 20 and tried to keep the same action.
How do you keep yourself ready if an international assignment comes your way?
The desire is still burning bright that I want to be back under the Black Cap. There’s a World Cup around the corner which I am very eager to have a shot at lifting. We have been so close in the white-ball formats for so many years. There’s unfinished business and we would want to take this World Cup really deep. It’s a thing that has been ticking along in the background. I still have the desire to play international cricket for many years.
Trent Boult. (IANS Photo)
What would you pick–bowling to Jos Buttler in the nets or in a World Cup game?
(Smiles) He doesn’t really face me in the nets. When he comes in World Cups, he generally pumps me. I’d love to get him a few times in the nets to get some confidence. I am the wrong guy for rivalry stories. There is a bit of banter between New Zealanders and Australians. Here at RR, we have just one Australian in Adam Zampa who could be one too many.
As a fast bowler, how kindly do you take when New Zealanders are called the good boys of cricket?
We do have that tag. It’s probably a good tag to have. I don’t remember when I tried to sledge anyone or intimidate anyone with the ball in my hand. My dad always taught me to do the talking with the ball and I followed that philosophy. If anything, you’ll get a smile or a wink from me.
News Source: https://m.timesofindia.com/sports/cricket/ipl/top-stories/the-world-cup-is-still-unfinished-business-trent-boult/articleshow/99480813.cms