Trent Boult wasn't expecting to play the ongoing second Test at Edgbaston "initially" but hopes that bowling against England compared to preparing in the nets will put him in "good stead" for the World Test Championship final against India starting June 18 in Southampton.
"Initially I wasn't expecting to play this game but everything fell into line, and I gave myself that chance to get out there and I think I'll definitely be better off for that head out," Boult said after the second day's play. "It's one thing loading and getting through numbers in the nets but to simulate that kind of game fitness and having to come back three, four or five times in a day…There's no real other way to do that. So I'm hoping it puts me in good stead [for the WTC final].
"The toes are a bit sore but that's what happens when you ram into the shoes for 30 overs. I'm excited about what lies ahead next week in Southampton but equally excited with the opportunity here over the next couple of days."
Boult was initially not going to play the second Test but relaxed quarantine rules in the UK after his arrival from New Zealand meant he came out of quarantine sooner than expected and started bowling in the nets while the first Test was on at Lord's. His inclusion was among the six changes New Zealand made for Edgbaston, although three of them were forced by injuries.
Leading the bowling attack now, Boult sent down 29 overs in England's first innings for figures of 4 for 85 by dismissing Rory Burns, James Bracey, Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Boult said he found it hard to sit on the sidelines after his quarantine ended and was eager to "get out there".
"What worked really well was the travel went well and I managed to get out of isolation in the UK quicker than was expected," he said. "As you can imagine, I was very excited with the prospect of playing the second Test. I felt like I gave myself the best chance with preparing with that week back at home and then getting straight into it here. Hopefully, we can get the job done and win a very important series.
"I found it pretty hard to sit on the sidelines there at Lord's last week, it's such a historic ground. The boys were on fire out there and I was itching to be out there, to be honest."
New Zealand will now be spoilt for choice for bowling options going into the WTC final next week after Tim Southee picked 6 for 43 in the first innings at Lord's, and Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner also collected three wickets apiece in the match. At Edgbaston, Matt Henry also chipped in with three wickets in the first innings with his pace and swing that accounted for Dom Sibley to break the opening stand, and then send back Joe Root four overs later.
"Healthy competition," Boult said about their pace-bowling options for the WTC final. "The boys are very excited about the prospect, but they've put in a lot of hard yards not just over the last couple of weeks but over a couple of years of a Test Championship cycle. Some hard calls will have to be made but the big picture is the collective goal of lifting the world title."