'I'm most effective when I'm operating at 140kph'

"I think my consistency in using my lengths and bumper has always helped me get where I am right now" Getty Images

New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry talks about on how he learned to bowl fast, what it's like to operate alongside Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and his idols growing up

Why do you bowl fast?
Growing up, you do a bit of everything - a bit of keeping, spin and batting. Once things started clicking, I really started enjoying bowling. I suppose when you start getting your pace up, it is quite enjoyable.

When did it click for you?
Through high school I wasn't necessarily quick. I was consistent and did a little bit with the ball. I used to bowl long spells. Then at the age of 17-18, I developed physically and started to bowl faster. I could get the ball through, which was quite nice.

When are you at your best as a bowler?
I think when I'm hitting the 140kph mark. I think my consistency in using my lengths and bumper has helped me get where I am right now.

How does one learn to bowl fast?
I think a lot of it comes down to your natural action. I don't think there's [one] action that's going to work. Thankfully for me, it was quite a compact action, and from there I was able to extract a bit of pace. I want to be consistent around the 140kph mark. That's where I am effective. I did a lot of strength and conditioning work as I got older, which helped me hold that pace for a longer period of time.

At the top of your bowling mark, what's the first thing that goes through your mind?
You are probably more nervous before the game, when you are at the hotel. Once you get to the ground, it is back to normality. That first ball always has the adrenaline pumping. It is always exciting to let it go. It is exciting energy, but there's always a bit of nerves. I think the more you play, the more you can control that, to a point.

Do you try to bowl fast every ball?
I am not a raw pace bowler, like a 150kph bowler; more like late 130s, early 140s. Consistency is key for me, so I look to keep operating at the 140kph mark.

How do you vary your pace in new conditions, like in the UAE, where you have done well?
You want to operate on straight lines. Cut down the width and try to hit the wicket as hard as you can with cross-seam variations. You know it is not going to swing and nip. Try to be unpredictable with your change of pace. When I am operating on the 140kph mark, the changes of pace are effective as well.

How do you take on sloggers in the last few overs?
Teams are batting deeper and deeper now, so you must have options. If they are one-pace hitters, change of pace is your option. It could be targeting them with the heavy length of your bouncers or yorkers. It comes down to becoming a bit unpredictable. If the batsmen get a read on you, it shows the power that players have these days. You can go the distance, even if they are No. 10 or No. 5.

You made your Test debut at Lord's and took a four-wicket haul. Were you thrilled or overawed?
It was a crazy experience. Making your Test debut in Lord's is a cool memory to have. [Alastair] Cook was my first wicket - caught behind with the pull shot down leg.

Did being lifetime friends with team-mates Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls help?
It was fun, really. We went through age groups together. We played a lot of cricket for Canterbury together as well. Tommy was the first one [among us] involved in the Black Caps set-up. It was good to have a familiar face. Soon after, Henry came as well. It is always great. Todd Astle has always been there as well.

Do you pick up stuff from batsmen?
You have to keep learning and progressing or you get left behind. Trying to develop new skills by talking to batsmen is very important.

Bowlers are your best coach, really. You see them day in and day out. They know your action. I think probably the best way to progress is by having those relationships with the fast bowlers and open communication with the batsmen.

What's it like bowling behind Tim Southee and Trent Boult?
It is quite a unique situation to be involved in such a strong squad. You have arguably New Zealand's greatest bowling partnership with Tim and Trent. I think it is really exciting to be involved in this group. I obviously haven't played regularly but it is important to be focused. Keep trusting in your process and training, and when you get the opportunity, put your hand up. The strength of this unit is the bowling group. It is not about yourself but as a collective. The roles are clear. It breeds success.

Who was your idol growing up?
I always loved watching Glenn McGrath bowl. Australian, but his skill set was unbelievable. His consistency was phenomenal.

I am a huge fan of Shane Bond. He was more raw pace. Every time he played was exciting to watch. He was taking big wicket hauls and winning games for New Zealand.

It was amazing to have Bondy as the coach when I was coming into the side. He has been really good throughout my career to touch base with.

What will be your challenge at the World Cup?
It is obviously the pinnacle event. It is a dream for any cricketer to represent your country in a World Cup. It is an exciting time for New Zealand cricket and for this group of players. We have a lot of depth now. England is a great place for cricket as well.

What's your dream dismissal?
You can never beat that faint nick you hear. Beating the outside edge and hitting the top of off is a great feeling.