Kolkata: Trent Boult, the attacking lynchpin of Mumbai Indians, sees a special context for the second phase of IPL in the UAE at a personal level. He, alongwith the other members of the golden generation of Black Caps will want to do one better in the T20 World Cup after their heartbreak in the 2019 final - and sees the IPL as an excellent preparation for the upcoming showpiece.
‘‘It will be definitely a good preparation for the World T20 which follows immediately. I have got some experience of playing in the UAE and know that conditions can change quickly here,’’ said Boult, who was a member of Kane Williamson’s World Test Championship winning squad in England in June.
The senior paceman, who found the conditions to his liking in Abu Dhabi in the IPL last year, started the second phase of the campaign with figures of 2/35 though the five-time champions were found wanting in chasing a reasonable target of 157 against Chennai on Sunday. They need to regroup fast against an upbeat Kolkata Knight Riders in a match between Abu Dhabi-based sides on Thursday and Boult feels that a favourable head-to-head record of 22-6 actually counts for nothing.
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‘‘I think we need to start afresh - every game is such a big game in IPL. History is history, they (KKR) are a quality side and had a great game the other night,’’ said Boult, referring to the Knights’ comprehensive win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The absence of skipper Rohit Sharma and allrounder Hardik Pandya in their first game - apparently more as a precautionary measure - had surely made a difference in their performance in the first match. Asked if both would be available against the Knights, Boult said: ‘‘I mm not sure - the team acted with bit of a caution on the other night...keeping my fingers crossed if they will be seen in action on Thursday,’’ he said.
‘‘Rohit was sorely missed, it was a big hole but he needed to be 100% fit,’’ Boult said, adding that Pandya also makes a big difference to the squad. ‘‘He is a big player and we are desperate to have him back.’’
Meanwhile, Boult was more than happy at the lively pace generated by compatriot Adam Milne, a new pick for Mumbai, the other night. ‘‘I have seen him for eight, nine years now. He worked extremely hard to keep his body in good shape,’’ he said.
Boult, who along with some of the prominent members of the national team were not a part of the trip of the now aborted tour of Pakistan, has come out of a three-month break after the WTC final in June. Calling it a big challenge, the swing ace said: ‘‘It’s a challenge that I enjoy. I have got a specific role to play for Mumbai upfront and would like to see the ball do it a bit more. We have got to push for a place in the final.’’
Finally, what’s his impression about Lasith Malinga, a Mumbai Indians legend and the highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL, who quit all forms of cricket last week? Boult said: ‘‘I haven’t played with him but am aware of his role and influence on the game. He was simply amazing with the ball in hand,’’ he added.