New Zealand in South Africa 2012/13 January 9, 2013

Boult thrust into leading from the front

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand may be at a particularly low ebb but their young bowling attack is the main cause of optimism for the future. To demonstrate their current predicament, the bowler leading their attack has just nine Tests under his belt.

Trent Boult is accustomed to the new ball, having opened the bowling in eight of his Tests, but now, with Tim Southee absent from the tour through injury, Boult has assumed the senior role, forging a new partnership with Doug Bracewell - his third opening partner.

The pair first shared the new ball at Kingston in August and, along with Southee and the remainder of Chris Martin's career, should provide a stable base for New Zealand to try and rebuild.

"I'm only nine or 10 Tests in but to be leading the attack is pretty special and something I feel quite good about," Boult said. "I've grown a lot and although it's only a handful of international fixtures I've made pretty big strides in developing as a bowler. I'm not looking too far ahead but I've got that job with the new ball which I love.

"I've opened the bowling a few times although Tim or whoever else has been there in the past. I don't feel any more pressure than normal or any more emphasis that I've got to be the man to do the job. We've got a good bowling unit that works well together and as a long as we do our jobs and back each other up we're going to continue to be pretty successful."

Boult has been successful in his fledgling Test career with 29 wickets at 28.79. He is part of a young attack who have proved they can deliver results. Victories over Australia in Hobart in November 2011 - Boult's debut - and Sri Lanka in Colombo 12 months on were significant feathers in the caps of Boult, 23, Bracewell, 22 and Southee, 24 - a young trio who Boult enjoys playing with.

"It's definitely a collective thing. We're lucky to be three pretty good mates and we played a lot of cricket together growing up. Tim's very good, he's injured but I'm still talking to him and bouncing ideas off him back in New Zealand. He's played a lot of cricket and I really respect the way he thinks. He's tactically a pretty smart cricketer.

"We work together. I don't think you can say 'this is how I do it, this is the best way'. It's selfish thinking you're going to do it on your own and I think it's pretty important that you work as a group."

Regrouping is essential for New Zealand after the embarrassment in Cape Town. New Zealand were fired out for their third-lowest Test total of 45, from which no amount of youthful exuberance could conjure a recovery. Worse still, South Africa's reply came at a healthy run rate of above four-an-over on the first afternoon.

"It's hard with that score we had on the board," Boult said. "Maybe a couple of guys were guilty of going out there searching a bit and trying to swing the game and get wickets quickly. I don't think that's the way to go.

"We need to stick to our plans and what we've been talking about, and that's being patient and trying to outlast our opponents. Although the intensity has been high at training, it's all about keeping it simple and not getting too far ahead of ourselves."

The swinging ball will again be a factor in the second Test but Boult expects conditions to be different in Port Elizabeth from Cape Town. "There's swing there with the new ball but I'm not sure how much it's going to hang around, like the conditions in Sri Lanka or India. It's a crucial part of it to swing that new ball and use it effectively as possible."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Beau on January 11, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    Yep, he's been a great find, alright. Still very young, but seems to have a level head and tries hard all day long. Lovely action, too.

    It'll be interesting to see who opens the bowling with Boult: Wagner will steam in from ball one, and SA will want to get right on top of him early, so a loose shot or two could result. On the other hand, Bracewell seems to be developing that happy knack of picking an early wicket.

    Of course, it's all academic unless the batsmen can last 4 or 5 sessions.

  • Angus on January 11, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    I watched Trent in his debut, in the Indian series and in the Sri Lankan series. His control of the swinging ball is fantastic. His dismissals of SRT were awesome. He just needs to learn the when and how of the straight one across the right hander to be world class.

    Tim has learnt to master the variation and that tour of Sri Lanka was the making of him. These two together, along with a rejuvenated Bracewell, or Wagner, or McClenahan will get 20 opposition wickets with no troubles at all imo.

    If only they had 400+ to bowl with every time....

  • greig on January 10, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    I dont think we should NOT get too excited about any fast bowlers ripping through batting lineups because the Port Elizabeth pitch is like most Australian pitches - total ROAD. It wont be quick, might have some uneven bounce but thats about it.

  • Roo on January 10, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Mervo... Glad you couldn't reply to my question about Boult... Been watching cricket "live" for well over 50 years & have watched those players you troll on - guess by your comment you are another NSW supporter with sour grapes - have a look at the SS over the last few years & who with the most resources have done least... & unlike you, I support all Oz teams to some level though I do live in Qld & will prefer my home team to win, also I support & encourage all players & especially the younger brigade - including many overseas players...

  • Roo on January 10, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    @Chris Campling :- "@zenboomerang - jimmy anderson a 120k bowler"... You obviosly didn't read or understand my post... I said Hussey was a 120kph bowler - read it again - Huss is a medium pacer... I said the other bowlers were generally around Boults pace - they bowl high 120's to low 140's - but generally in the middle of that... Try re-reading comms before posting as I'm very used to misguided comms, so try again...

  • Neuen on January 10, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Still don't see them taking 22 wickets vs SA. Quicks can't bowl long spells. 2 Quicks is not going to do anything when there is nothing to back it up.

  • Alan on January 10, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    @Chris: read zenboomerang's post again. He compares Boult's speed to Anderson, Bird, and Philander. Not how good he is. Nor did he say Anderson is a 120 km bowler - he said Hussey is. Your point that it is what you do with the ball rather than the speed seems to be the same point he is making. Of course he is no Philander, but who is? Average under 30 despite mostly playing away is not bad for a young Kiwi bowler, and most would agree he has been unlucky in many spells. Good luck to him.

  • Merv on January 10, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Zenboomerang you should watch more cricket and read fewer stats. There are an awful lots of trundlers in test cricket these days. ODI data has little resemblance to data from test cricket. Watching old footage of Aktar and Lee hitting 158 is inspiring and one wonders where such young bowlers are these days. NZ is doing the very best with the resources they have and one has to support your national team However guys like mcKay and Hastings have no place in test cricket. Their only virtue is to come from Victoria.

  • michael on January 10, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Here we go again, getting enthralled by another young and talented player who in any other team would get his debut in another year or two and not as the "opener". As I said prior to this tour, it should never have taken place. So far its been a total embarrisment to NZ cricket !!