Kolkata: Trent Boult, the New Zealand pace ace who forms an awesome attacking pair with Jasprit Bumrah for Mumbai Indians, wears his stardom lightly on his sleeves. Ever since he was traded by Delhi Capitals to the five-time champions’ camp for the 2020 season, the seasoned Kiwi star has revelled in his role of providing breakthroughs in the power play for his team and then coming back at the death to throttle the rivals with his yorkers.
‘‘Ever since joining Mumbai last year, I have really enjoyed my role - that of giving the breakthrough in powerplay and then coming back in the final overs. It’s great fun bowling with Bumrah,’’ said the 31-year-old, one of the rightful challengers for the ‘Sultan of Swing’ tag in contemporary cricket.
It had not been the most enjoyable experience for Boult to pursue his craft on the slow decks of Chennai, compared to their original home venue of Wankhede where he sees the balls ‘‘flying’’ around. ‘‘It’s been a challenge to bowl here as the surface does not allow for much of a swing,’’ says Boult, who still has a game to play against Punjab Kings on Friday before moving on to the re-christened Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi for their next leg of matches.
The dew factor had been playing a havoc for the sides defending their totals in Mumbai and the New Zealander admitted that it could be a matter of concern for the bowlers. Asked if two dry balls, instead of one which gets wet frequently can be the answer, Bolt said during a virtual interaction with the media on Thursday: ‘‘I cannot comment about the use of two balls, but it should be a better battle between bat & ball.
‘We didn’t experience much of it in Chennai. It’s a part and parcel of the game here but for a foreign player not accustomed to this, it’s quite a challenge,’’ said Boult, for whom the best bowling figures in the IPL so far is a haul of four for 18 against CSK in last October in the UAE.
Boult may be a relative newcomer in a side which is full of ‘oldtimers,’ but his easygoing nature and ready smile has helped him gell with the side quite easily. In both seasons that he has been playing for Mumbai Indians so far, the ‘new normal’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic meant there had been no jet-set travel like the usual years. ‘‘It’s good for us as we can unpack a bit. I have enjoyed being in one place. In fact, last year we were based in one hotel (in Abu Dhabi),’’ he said.
He has also high words of praise about Rohit Sharma, his captain and the most successful one in the history of IPL with five titles. ‘‘I have just one season’s experience but he is a very approachable and positive guy.’’
Come the end of IPL, there will be very little rest for Boult as he will be the attacking lynchpin for New Zealand against India in the World Test Championship final in England in June. How challenging will the transition be to switch formats for such a high profile contest? ‘‘It can be tricky to be honest for in T20s, you tend to bowl a lot of slower deliveries etc. However, it would be quite a challenge and I am looking forward to it,’’ he added.