Dubai: The first thing that New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult did after a practice session at the Zayed Cricket Stadium nets in Abu Dhabi on Monday was to empty a bottle of cold water on his head.
He then smiled, as if to say: I’m ready.
The footage, which was shared on the team’s social media platform, had the New Zealander sharing his experiences, feelings, and innermost thoughts of playing in ‘challenging’ conditions in the UAE.
With Malinga out, Boult has been tasked with sharing the new ball with Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah to help maintain the defending champion’s intimidating style of play.
While acknowledging that he had his work cut out for him as a strike bowler, Boult believes that the biggest challenge in the 60-match tournament, being played for the second time in the UAE after the country hosted 20 matches in 2014, was the weather.
In September, the average temperatures in the UAE is a sweltering 33°C, reaching highs of 40°C in the hottest part of the day and dropping below 33 in the evenings. But it the high humidity that can make playing conditions unpleasant.
“The biggest challenge so far has been trying to prepare to come to 45 degrees in the middle of the desert,” Boult said in the video posted by Mumbai Indians. “I come from a very small country, New Zealand, which is about 7 or 8 degrees at the moment, (we are) in the middle of winter.”
Having previously played in the UAE, Boult is not new to the heat and demands of playing in unfavourable conditions. He also believes that Mumbai Indians, who boast plenty of firepower in its bowling department, have it in them to cope and come up good.
“I’ve played a little bit of cricket here and I’m aware that the conditions can change quite drastically depending on the time of the time of the year etc,” the 31-year-old said.
“But I’m hoping for good wickets and if good wickets are on the table, then it’s about being clear with what we are trying to do as a bowling team. And if we put the ball where we want to, then I think we (have) got the skills to outperform any opposition.”
Boult also highlighted the variety in the Mumbai Indians bowling unit. “I’m very excited to be part of that bowling pack,” he said. “There is a lot of experience there, there is a lot of diversity I suppose and there is a group of players who have performed around the world.”
“I am sure we will back each other to do the job. It’s a big strength of the MI family I think.”
Boult will be making his debut with the four-time IPL champions in the tournament’s opening match on Saturday, September 19 where they take on Chennai Super Kings at the Zayed Sports Stadium in Abu Dhabi in an evening match from 6 pm.