Trent Boult: 10 interesting things to know about ‘ThunderBoult’

Trent Boult, born July 22, 1989, is one of the finest pace bowlers New Zealand have produced for some time. While his physique is far from that of a typical pacer, he generates good speed and is a tremendous athlete on the field. On his 26th birthday, Shiamak Unwalla looks at 10 interesting things to know about the Kiwi fast bowler.

1.  Dissimilar brothers: Trent is the younger brother of Jono Boult, who also plays for the domestic side Northern Districts. Jono is older by around three years and, unlike the pace-bowling Trent, is a spinning all-rounder. Co-incidentally, while Trent bats right-handed and bowls with his left hand, Jono bowls right-arm and bats left-handed.

2.  The golden batch: Boult was a part of the golden batch of young cricketers who played the Under-19 World Cup in 2008. This was a particularly impressive batch, with future international cricketers like Phillip Hughes, Josh Hazlewood, Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Dinesh Chandimal, Darren Bravo, Wayne Parnell, Steven Finn, Chris Woakes, and Rubel Hossain all playing the tournament.

Along with Boult, New Zealand’s batch of cricketers included Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, and Hamish Rutherford. Boult and Southee first formed their lethal opening partnership in this tournament; it was a sign of things to come. Boult excelled in the match against Malaysia, where he took 7 for 20 to destroy the hosts.

3.  A lethal partnership and praise from a legend: Though they are no Dennis Lille and Jeff Thomson, the pair of Boult and Southee are currently one of the most successful new-ball partners in world cricket. Both bowlers are unlike each other enough to be effective on virtually any surface. While Southee relies more on reverse swing and bounce, Boult is the more consistent of the two, and relies on conventional swing. Perhaps the biggest praise they received was from the great Sir Richard Hadlee, who went so far as to call them the “best ever new-ball combination” in New Zealand’s history.

4.  A memorable debut: Boult made his Test debut against Australia at Hobart in 2011. Doug Bracewell was the star for New Zealand with three for 20 and six for 40 in the match, but Boult had a good debut as well, taking three for 29 (including the wickets of Mike Hussey, James Pattinson, and Mitchell Starc) and one for 51 (Usman Khawaja) while also scoring 21 vital runs in the second innings as New Zealand beat Australia in a Test for the first time since 1993.

5.  Not a bunny: While Boult may not be exceptionally talented with the bat, he is certainly not a walking wicket (unlike his more ‘illustrious’ predecessor at No. 11, Chris Martin!). He added 127 with BJ Watling for the final wicket against Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2013, scoring his maiden, and till date only, Test half-century in what was ultimately a draw. He enjoys a batting average of 15.77 — extremely respectable for a No. 11 — thanks to 21 not outs in 43 innings.

6.  Supreme catcher: Despite coming from a country that has traditionally produced outstanding fielders, and despite sharing the dressing room with phenomenal fielders like Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, Boult is perhaps one of the best catchers in New Zealand along with Kane Williamson. The duo one-ups each other on a regular basis; if one hangs on to a blinder, the other finds a way to take a stunning catch as well.

With the likes of McCullum, Guptill, Williamson, and Boult in the outfield, it is a wonder opposition batsmen even try to play the ball in the air!

7.  Famous idols: Being a left-arm pacer, it stands to reason that Boult’s favourite cricketer of all time is Wasim Akram. Boult also sees Dale Steyn as one of his idols.

8.  World Cup hero: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 saw some outstanding performances, especially that of Man of the Series Mitchell Starc. However, it should be kept in mind that Starc was not the sole leading wicket-taker of the tournament; Boult ended with as many wickets as Starc (22) but at a higher bowling average of 16.86 against Starc’s 10.18.

Arguably Boult’s most memorable ODI performance came during the iconic league match against Australia at Auckland, Boult took five for 27 to rout Australia for a paltry 151. The Australian bowlers then fought back brilliantly after McCullum’s 24-ball 50, and reduced the Kiwis to 146 for nine. Boult had to survive two nerve-wracking deliveries from a fire-breathing Starc, which he successfully managed to do, and Williamson’s six won New Zealand the game by one wicket.

9.  Late but productive entry: Curiously overlooked in previous auctions, Boult was a big enough name by Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 to fetch a commendable bid in the player auctions. Boult was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for a whopping $600,000. In 2017 edition, he was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders.

10.  A place among heroes: Among all New Zealand bowlers with at least 100 Test wickets, Boult ranks fourth on the all-time list in terms of both average and strike rate. While Hadlee is comfortably ahead on both, Boult’s average of 28.75 puts him below Bruce Taylor (26.60) while his strike rate (58.1) is better than that of Taylor’s (57) but behind his teammate Neil Wagner (54.1). However, Boult can statistically be considered New Zealand’s best bowler in nearly a decade.

(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)