Mount Maunganui, Aug 10 (Ajit Weekly News) New Zealand fast-bowler Trent Boult has said that he is ‘as hungry as ever’ to represent the country again and play a pivotal role in lifting the upcoming ODI World Cup, to be held from October 5 to November 19 in India.
Boult has made a return to New Zealand’s ODI squad for the upcoming series against England as part of preparation for the mega event in India.
The left-arm pacer, who is returning to the format after opting out of his central contract last year, was a part of the New Zealand side finishing as runners-up in the last two ODI World Cup finals in 2015 and 2019 to Australia and England.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make just over a year ago to move away from the New Zealand cricket bubble in a way. 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. 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 have 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,” said Boult in a chat with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in the side’s ongoing training camp at Bay Oval.
Boult is New Zealand’s highest wicket-taker in ODI World Cups with 39 scalps, but played franchise T20 leagues in his year-long absence from international cricket. He recently won the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) trophy in the USA as leading wicket-taker for MI New York.
He played for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2023, MI Emirates in the UAE’s ILT20, and Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s BBL.
Talking about his year off from international cricket, Boult said he was grateful for the franchise opportunities, but has now put focus on the ODI World Cup.
“Life’s short, make the most of everything. It has been an exciting 12 months or so on the road. (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,” he said.
“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 and the ODI World Cup is still the pinnacle in my opinion,” he added.
Asked about his learnings from plying his trade in the franchise league system, Boult felt it’s not a smooth ride.
“I think everyone looks at T20 cricket and says ‘oh, it’s only 20 overs, or four overs as a bowler’. But it’s still about intensity and the training that goes into it, and the time away from home is the thing as well,” the pacer said.
“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. But I was very fortunate to have the opportunities and take it with both hands,” he added.
The 34-year-old signed off by believing that performance in international cricket is still a pathway for earning franchise deals.
“I’m not sure about the contracts. It’s a hard question as well, with franchise cricket around the world. 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,” Boult said.
“When I made my decision to move away from my contract, it was to spend a bit more time at home, and it quickly became a lot of cricket around the world. I was very fortunate to take my family around the world and it’s been one of the best things, to flick through the camera roll and see the kids with cowboy hats on in Texas and in Rajasthan with turbans. It’s going to be something I’ll be pretty proud of in years to come,” he concluded.
–Ajit Weekly News
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