Boult ready to 'get back in the saddle and crack on with Test cricket'

Trent Boult is raring to get back into Test cricket Getty Images

It's time to start again for New Zealand. After the emotion, and ultimate heartbreak, of the World Cup the coloured kits and white ball have been put away for now (although not the numbered shirts) as the Test squad reforms for the tour of Sri Lanka.

While the England players who appeared in that era-defining final might have been better served by being anywhere other than Lord's last week for the Ireland Test, the New Zealand players who cross formats are glad that their next challenge has approached without too long to dwell on what might have been.

A couple of weeks at home, for those not playing T20 around the world, has allowed time to rest tired bodies and minds but new targets are fast approaching: the two Tests in Sri Lanka mark the start of the World Test Championship (WTC) for both teams. There is, however, some relief that the 50-over game has been parked for a while - New Zealand's next ODI is not until February 5.

"If we were getting back into one-day cricket it might drive a few of us mad after the amount we've played over the last little while," Trent Boult told ESPNcricinfo. "I think it's going to be a big positive to get back in the saddle and crack on with some Test cricket. It's a slightly different squad so think it will be good for everyone."

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Although the World Cup ended in the most agonising way for New Zealand, the reaction to the team back home - and around the world - was not of a side that had lost (technically, they didn't, of course). Boult hopes to use the next period of Test cricket to build on the feeling of optimism around the game in New Zealand. There is the chance to return to Lord's for another final at the end of the two-year cycle.

"A lot of people are talking some positive stuff about the game back and there's a lot of pride in the side so it's just great for a game in a small country like this"

After Sri Lanka, New Zealand face England at home (which isn't part of the WTC) then visit Australia which includes the iconic Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Melbourne and Sydney before facing India back on home soil. It is worth remembering, after everything that has happened in the last few weeks, that New Zealand are second the ICC Test rankings.

"It's definitely exciting for us, there's a big summer schedule coming up, against some quality opposition and I know the guys are looking forward to it," Boult said. "For me, growing up as a kid, to potentially play a Boxing Day Test in Australia has always been a massive motivator so hopefully everything goes well and I can get on that stage. It's great for New Zealand cricket, a lot of people are talking some positive stuff about the game back and there's a lot of pride in the side so it's just great for a game in a small country like this.

"We've been playing some good [Test] cricket over a very long period of time, there's a reason that we ended up at the right end of the rankings. [The final] is probably not something we are setting out right now to achieve, but through toiling away and playing the style of cricket we know works well hopefully that will give us reward down the track. The potential to be in a Test final at Lord's in a couple of years' time is definitely a pretty big stage so we'll be driven by that."

It is seven years since New Zealand last toured Sri Lanka for Tests and it was a trip that brought both success and ultimately upheaval. It was after the second Test in Colombo, which New Zealand won to level the series, that the unseemly sacking of Ross Taylor as captain took place - a move that worked out well in the long term, with Brendon McCullum leading the side to considerable success, but one with significant short-term pain.

For Boult, however, the Colombo Test was an early viewing of his match-winning capabilities as he took seven wickets in the match and shared 15 in the game with Tim Southee. "I think it was my fifth or sixth Test at time [it was his eighth] so I realise after playing 50-odd Tests that wins are earned and worked, and victories overseas are especially hard to come by," he said. "It's a great feeling after long days on the park for it all to come together, hopefully we can taste that feeling over the next month."

New Zealand have much more recent experience of winning in subcontinent conditions having beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the UAE last year. They have named four spinners in the squad for Sri Lanka and Boult knows that his role may sometimes have to be unglamorous.

"You have to be extremely patient and extremely accurate, be willing to put in the yards and bowl long spells," he said. "It's a lot different to what we face back home but it's always very exciting to try other conditions. They were pretty tough conditions in the UAE, but the way the guys adapted to what was in front of them, finding ways to be aggressive and take wickets, was one of the best things we took out of that tour so hopefully we can put out best foot forward in Sri Lanka and come out the right side."