Trent Boult ‘as hungry as ever’ to play for NZ and lift World Cup

Trent Boult ‘as hungry as ever’ to play for NZ and lift World Cup

New Zealand quick Trent Boult, who last played an ODI nearly a year ago soon after shunning a national contract to ply his trade in the T20 franchise world, is “as hungry as ever” to play for his country again and lift the World Cup. Boult returned to the ODI squad for the upcoming series against England in the lead up to the World Cup in India. Boult was part of the last two World Cup finals when New Zealand finished runners-up to Australia and England.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make just over a year ago to move away from New Zealand cricket bubble in a way,” he said. “I never wanted it to be about New Zealand or franchise cricket. I just respected the fact that my career is [only] so long, and just tried to make the most of my remaining years as a bowler. Yeah, definitely as hungry as ever to still represent the country, and hopefully do something special with the guys over the next couple of months. I can’t wait.

“I have always had this in the back of my mind to come back and work towards an ODI World Cup. There’s history involved there. The times we have had in previous campaigns has been very exciting. So just hungry to get involved, and hopefully play a big role.

“I’m just thinking about hopefully lifting something pretty shiny that we were pretty close to four years ago. That’s the biggest focus.”

Boult is fresh off his stint with MI New York, whom he helped lift the inaugural MLC trophy in the USA by being the highest wicket-taker. Before that, he played for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, which followed his time with MI Emirates in the UAE’s ILT20, and with Melbourne Renegades in the BBL. During Boult’s absence with the New Zealand team, he missed playing 35 international matches for them across formats.

“Life’s short, make the most of everything. It has been an exciting 12 months or so on the road,” Boult said of his year-long sojourn from international cricket. “[I was] getting the chance of experiencing cricket around the world. Just hot out of Texas [for MLC]. I had a great time out there, lifting the trophy with MI New York.

“Just pretty grateful to get the experiences across a couple of big tournaments, and it’s been different watching the Black Caps games from afar and seeing the guys go out there and take on the international game. I still respect the international game immensely; it plays a big role in any kid trying to come through and play cricket as a dream. The idea of a World Cup is still the pinnacle in my opinion as well.”

New Zealand play four ODIs against England next month, and a series against Bangladesh before heading to India for the World Cup. Boult is New Zealand’s highest wicket-taker in ODI World Cups, with 39 wickets at 21.79 from just two editions, in 2015 and 2019, and will again be expected to be their frontline swing bowler along with Tim Southee.

New Zealand also lost allrounder James Neesham to the franchise world when he declined an NZC contract after Boult, but he too remains in their World Cup plans but will miss the England ODIs for the birth of his first child. Boult, however, felt that while international cricket still played a massive role in a player’s career, the times at T20 franchises weren’t smooth either.

“I’m not sure with the contracts. It’s a hard question as well, with franchise cricket around the world,” he said. “It’s not taking over, but there’s a lot more of it. I still think international cricket plays a massive role in, I suppose earning you the right to get into the franchises and play. And franchise cricket can be pretty hard. You are one or two performances away from being pushed out of the franchise. There are hundreds of cricketers trying to come in behind you and take that role as well. There’s a lot at stake.

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