Euro 2020 Special
 

Boult asks to be released from central contract: New Zealand pacer to play a reduced role

Introduction

The world’s current leading ODI bowler, Trent Boult of New Zealand, has asked to be released from his central contract. The pace bowler has cited family reasons.

As a consequence, he will play a significantly reduced role in the future with the international set-up as he begins to plan for his future.

 

Why is he stepping away?

Boult says that the decision has been motivated by family reasons. He and his wife Gert has three young sons and he wants to devote more time to them than he is able to do currently due to the demands of international sport. Now is the time to put them first as he prepares for life after cricket.

 

What New Zealand Cricket have said

New Zealand Cricket said that they respect his decision and have praised Boult for being completely honest with them. He leaves, therefore, with their best wishes and thanks but the door on his international career is not being closed entirely.

As the player himself claims, he still has the desire to represent his country and he still has the skills to perform at the highest level.

 

More franchise cricket beckons

The decision also leaves Boult free to play more franchise cricket and he is part of a growing trend for players to either give up their international careers completely, or, in the case of Ben Stokes earlier this summer, to walk away from one format of the game, to free up their schedules.

Boult already has a long association with the Indian T20 league. He played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad for two seasons, then had a year with the Kolkata Knight Riders before a two-year stint with the Delhi Capitals.

There then followed a two-year stint with the Mumbai Indians, and this season he pulled on the jersey of the Rajasthan Royals.

No player has bowled more maiden overs than him (four) in a single season since the inception of the league.

His significantly reduced international commitments will leave him free to sign up for more franchise leagues over the coming years.

And whilst this may seem at odds with his stated aim of spending more time with his family, Boult also knows that cricket is a short career, and that a few years playing in franchise leagues will help give them financial stability in the years ahead. Few can blame them for choosing to chase some of the money that is on offer to players nowadays.

 

His international career

Boult made his international debut for the Kiwis in a test against Australia in December 2011 and has gone on to play 78 tests for his country, taking 317 wickets at an average of 27.49. He has taken 10 wickets in a match once and has 10 five wicket hauls to his name.

Arguably the highlight of his test career was being part of the team that beat India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton last year to win the inaugural World Test Championship.

The left-armed seamer made his first ODI appearance against the West Indies in 2012 and has made 93 appearances in that format to date.

He has taken 169 wickets, and in 2019, he became the first New Zealander to take a hat-trick at a World Cup against Bangladesh.

He was also in the team that reached the final of the competition that year against the hosts England at Lord’s. However, he and his fellow Kiwis suffered disappointment that time as they were beaten on boundaries scored in the match after the scores were tied after 50 overs and a Super Over.

In terms of T20I cricket, Boult first played for his country in 2013 against England at Edgbaston. He has been used sparingly in the format and only has 44 caps to his name and 62 wickets.

However, he made it a hat-trick on international finals last November in Dubai when New Zealand faced off against Australia in the 2021. But despite his best efforts – with him taking 2-18 from his four overs – he was destined to finish on the losing side again.

Although he is part of the current New Zealand squad that is touring the West Indies, it is unclear as to whether he will play any part for them in this year’s World Cup in Australia.

 

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