Trent Boult tightens screws
Boult played seven matches in the IPL this season and picked 9 wickets at an average of 26. (Source: BCCI)
By Vishal Menon
ON A dry wicket in Mohali, Sunrisers managed only 150 after being put into bat by Kings XI Punjab. A target of 151 did not look daunting for the home side, and most expected George Bailey’s side to canter home. For Sunrisers, getting wickets upfront was going to be the key. Fortunately for them, Trent Boult, their premier fast bowler from New Zealand, was up to the task.
He removed Punjab opener Manan Vohra early with a delivery that swung back in. The left-armer was then brought back for his second spell to break what looked like a game-changing partnership between Axar Patel and Wriddhiman Saha. He answered his captain’s call by removing Axar with a yorker. He then removed danger man Saha for 42, with a quick inswinger, which hurried the diminutive wicket-keeper into playing a false stroke. Saha ended up scooping it to square-leg. Boult had conceded just seven runs in his comeback over and his twin strikes pegged the hosts back. Hyderabad won the match by 20 runs, and Boult, who finished with figures of 3/19 in his four overs, walked away with the Man-of-the Match award.
Before the Mohali match, much talk in the Sunrisers camp was centered on Boult and their other fast bowler, Dale Steyn. It was an embarrassment of riches for the Tom Moody-coached side, but sadly there was room for only one fast bowler.
Coming into the IPL, Boult had enhanced his reputation with his record-breaking feat at the World Cup, where he was the joint highest wicket-taker, along with Mitchell Starc. He was the flavour of the season, and his prolific wicket-taking ability was hard to ignore. Getting wickets on friendly conditions at home is one thing. But there were doubts about the 25-year-old’s efficacy on dry flat tracks in India. His match-defining 3/19 against Punjab shut all talk in that regard. He played seven matches in the IPL this season and picked 9 wickets at an average of 26. It’s not exactly been a dream run after his heroics in the World Cup back home, but he conceded that playing the IPL has helped his evolution as a fast bowler.
“The IPL has been a great learning curve for me. The experience has been invaluable, and the challenges are two-pronged. Firstly, playing in hot humid conditions on dry wickets in India is a different ball game compared to the pitches I have grown up in New Zealand. Secondly, the demanding schedule of the IPL makes you take care of your body better. With constant travel and cramped schedule, there is little time for recovery between matches. Hence it becomes imperative that you become smarter as a player.”
Boult attributes his success to Brendon McCullum’s bold and unorthodox style of captaincy. “Having an attacking captain like Brendon really helps. He never looks to contain, but looks for wickets. He is positive and extremely aggressive. For a large part of the game, he likes to keep slips, so as a bowler, the job becomes simple. His captaincy is the reason for my success and New Zealand being so competitive,” he said.
It is said that fast bowlers hunt in pairs. The success of a fellow fast bowler often rubs on the other. In case of Boult, he considers himself lucky for getting to share the new ball with Tim Southee. Both Boult and Southee go a long way back. They have been opening the attack since they played in the U-19 World Cup in 2008.
“It’s great bowling alongside Tim. We complement each other. We bowl attacking lines and look for wickets from the onset. The right and left-arm combination also works because he (Tim) is an outswing bowler, while I like to bring the ball back in. So we keep the batsmen guessing and look to sustain pressure from both ends,” he added.
Source:: Indian Express