Beaming Trent Bolt’s emphatic return from long break
Trent Boult in his follow through. (AFP Image)

New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult called his new-born son the ‘lucky charm’ as he marked his return to international cricket with a hat-trick against Pakistan on Wednesday. Boult became just the third New Zealand bowler after Danny Morrison and Shane Bond to pick up three wickets in three balls in ODIs and helped his side to a comfortable 47-run win in Abu Dhabi to go 1-0 up in the series.

What makes Boult’s performance even more memorable is that this was his first competitive cricket game since the IPL for Delhi Daredevils. Sure, he played three games for Northern Districts last mont, but most of the time, he was away during the off-season on paternity leave, and just last month, welcomed his son.

“The lucky charm. He must have been watching in the early hours of the morning back home. I haven’t caught up with them [family] yet but I’m sure they’re pretty happy,” Boult said. “I’ve had a pretty quiet winter, probably four months off, away from cricket. The summer pretty much starts here for me. I’ve been in the gym doing the things I need to do to make sure my body’s right. The rhythm felt good tonight.”

Boult first dismissed Fakhar Zaman after angling a back-of-a-length into the pads of the southpaw, who edged it on to the stumps. Zaman departed for just 1. He then fired in a wide yorker which Babar Azam tried to jab at but ended up finding the edge before it carried to Ross Taylor at first slip. Boult, who has taken 122 wickets in 66 ODIs, completed his hat-trick with the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez, who was out plumb leg before. Of the three wickets, Boult called Hafeez’s dismissal his best.

“My role is to run in and pitch the ball up and swing it around and try to take wickets. We’re always aiming to get a couple at the top in that first power play,” Boult said. “When the hat-trick ball came around I was just trying to make him [Hafeez] play and get the ball on the wickets. It was nice for it to swing back a little bit and trap him in front, a pretty cool feeling.”

Having lost the T20s 0-3, the win at Abu Dhabi last night was a much-needed one, but Boult is aware that they cannot afford to take a side that has been dominant at home lightly. Even after being reduced to 8 for 3, Pakistan recovered through defiant knocks from Sarfraz Khan and allrounder Imad Wasim before eventually getting bowled out for 219.

“They’re a quality side and the big challenge is to come over here and beat them in conditions like this. If we can come with the same kind of energy and a similar gameplan in a couple of nights’ time it will be a big one to get across a good side,” Boult said.