Trent Alexander Boult
July 22, 1989, Rotorua
Right hand bat
Left arm fast medium
Rated as one half of the best new-ball pair in New Zealand history by Sir Richard Hadlee, Trent Boult is a left-arm quick who presents a significant threat to batsmen around the world with an ability to move the ball both ways even in unresponsive conditions.
Born in the Bay of Plenty region in New Zealand's North Island, Boult is, in the words of his brother Jono, a "normal sort of Kiwi young guy… into his golf and fishing and surfing." Cricket, though, was his calling. He lived in a neighbourhood which included eventual New Zealand team-mates Kane Williamson and Doug Bracewell, and had the backing of a supportive household that also kept him grounded. Signs of his skill were evident even as a teenager. As a 17-year-old, he was named the fastest secondary school bowler in the country. A year later, he was representing New Zealand at the Under-19 World Cup.
The transition to senior cricket, though, was not quite seamless. Boult suffered a stress fracture of the back in 2009 which put him out of cricket for two years and taught him to concentrate on strength and conditioning. There was speculation that the injury was a consequence of tinkering with his bowling action. So, under the supervision of one of his idols, Shane Bond, Boult reverted to the action he had used as a boy and the results were more than promising. By 2015, he was capable of long spells without wavering too far below the 140kph mark. He became one of New Zealand's irreplaceable players across formats and one of many protagonists in the side's march to their first World Cup final in 2015.
Boult had a tough time breaking into the limited-overs sides at first, due to a perception that he doesn't move the white ball as much as the red one. But his effectiveness in Test cricket was too compelling to ignore: he raced past 100 wickets in his 29th match and in 2013, only two years since his debut, he was New Zealand's top-wicket taker. With Brendon McCullum placing a high premium on attacking cricket in the shorter versions as well and Boult proving himself as a bowler who preferred getting batsmen out rather than keeping them quiet, it was a perfect fit. Confirmation came in World Cup 2015 when he ended up the joint-leading wicket taker with 22 scalps in nine matches including 5 for 27 in an epic victory over Australia. His worth in T20 cricket was emphasised by a (approximately) $600,000 payday in the IPL.
Boult's strength, according to Northern Districts coach John Pamment, is that, "he's got a lovely wrist position and the fact that the wrist goes right behind the ball gives him that control." Another asset for Boult is friend and sounding board Tim Southee. When on song, their partnership makes for compelling viewing, not to mention telling numbers. In 2014, the pair picked up nearly half the wickets New Zealand took - 67 of 143 - en route to the side's most successful Test year, with five wins in nine matches.
The pair have both raced past 200 Test wickets and by 2019 occupy third and fourth on New Zealand's all-time Test wicket-taking list behind Hadlee and Daniel Vettori. Boult was again magnificent in the 2019 World Cup helping lead New Zealand's attack taking 17 wickets. He took a hat-trick against Australia, and the key wicket of Virat Kohli in the semi-final win over India. He bowled the last over and the Super Over in the tied final against England and without some misfortune he may have won the World Cup for his nation.
Boult is also among the few fast bowlers who are exceptional fielders, and has a particular knack for one-handed blinders.
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