New Zealand pacer Trent Boult revealed that he was initially not in line to play the second Test at Edgbaston, but decided to slot himself in to ensure that he shed rust ahead of the World Test Championship final. Boult hoped for practice in the ongoing Test to help him come the WTC Final next week.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead, prior to the commencement of the England series, claimed that Trent Boult would likely not feature in the two-Test series, but the UK Government’s updated Covid protocols allowed the left-arm pacer to exit quarantine quickly. This, in turn, allowed Boult to slide into the starting XI for the second Test at Edgbaston, and Boult’s return also enabled the Kiwis to rest both Jamieson and Southee.
Boult made an instant impact, claiming four wickets in the first innings, but the left-arm pacer insisted that, more than performing well, it was key for him to just get overs under the belt. Boult nearly bowled 30 overs in the first innings, and with the Kiwis set to play India in the WTC Final next week, the 31-year-old hoped for the tough workload to put him in good stead for the final.
"Initially I wasn't expecting to play this game but everything fell into line, and I gave myself that chance to get out there and I think I'll definitely be better off for that head out," Boult said on Friday, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"It's one thing loading and getting through numbers in the nets but to simulate that kind of game fitness and having to come back three, four or five times in a day…There's no real other way to do that. So I'm hoping it puts me in good stead [for the WTC final].
"The toes are a bit sore but that's what happens when you ram into the shoes for 30 overs. I'm excited about what lies ahead next week in Southampton but equally excited with the opportunity here over the next couple of days."
Unlike his teammates, Boult, after playing in the IPL, headed back to New Zealand, but the 31-year-old revealed he prepared rigorously back home before boarding the flight to England. This preparation, he revealed, enabled him to hit his straps immediately and get back into the side as soon as he was cleared to play.
"What worked really well was the travel went well and I managed to get out of isolation in the UK quicker than was expected. As you can imagine, I was very excited with the prospect of playing the second Test. I felt like I gave myself the best chance with preparing with that week back at home and then getting straight into it here. Hopefully, we can get the job done and win a very important series.
"I found it pretty hard to sit on the sidelines there at Lord's last week, it's such a historic ground. The boys were on fire out there and I was itching to be out there, to be honest."
Boult is a lock to feature in the WTC Final next week, but the same cannot be said for the likes of Ajaz Patel, Matt Henry, Mitch Santner and Colin de Grandhomme, many of whom could potentially not feature in the grand finale. Boult admitted that the management will have to make tough decisions, but asserted that every single squad member has a primary goal, which is lifting the WTC title.
“The boys are very excited about the prospect, but they've put in a lot of hard yards not just over the last couple of weeks but over a couple of years of a Test Championship cycle. Some hard calls will have to be made but the big picture is the collective goal of lifting the world title."