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Going to IPL for the experience, not the money - Boult

The New Zealand left-arm pacer will be one of the premier fast bowlers on display at the IPL this season after Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for INR 5 crore

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Trent Boult became the second-most expensive New Zealand player in IPL history when he fetched INR 5 crore (US$750,000) from Kolkata Knight Riders, but he won't be splashing the cash. "A new pair of jeans, maybe," was his modest idea for a purchase.
Boult's value sits behind only Brendon McCullum's, who went for INR 7.5 crore (US$1.12 mn) in 2015, and confirms his rise into one of the finest white-ball pace bowlers in the world. Last year he was benched for the majority of the tournament - playing only once for Sunrisers Hyderabad - but in the absence of Mitchell Starc, he will be the premier left-arm quick at this year's event.
He is certainly an in-form bowler. In the one-off T20 against South Africa, at Eden Park, he claimed 2 for 8 off four overs - in a total of 185 - which followed 6 for 33 in the deciding Chappell-Hadlee ODI. Seeing his price rise, in a bidding war between Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, was a "surreal" experience and he struggled to get his mind around how some players were valued so highly.
"We were in a car with a couple of the lads following the Twitter feed,'' Boult said. "To see the name come through with a figure like that next to it was pretty unbelievable. It's bizarre how that much money can be put on the head of a player to play six or seven weeks.
"Building up to [2015] World Cup I wouldn't have put myself in the bracket of top five or six white-ball bowlers in the country. But my game has grown, I'm a lot more confident with the white ball and now things like this are knocking at the door."
Having been bought for such a significant sum, and given the balance of the Knight Riders squad, Boult can look forward to a lot more on-field time at this year's tournament.
"It's a very hard one to read," he said. "Different teams need different things. It was frustrating to only play one game last year but that's the way the tournament is played - four overseas players [in the XI] so people have to miss out. I'm definitely looking forward to putting my foot forward for KKR."
Overall it was an auction of limited success for New Zealand players with only Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson - the raw quick bowler - being bought, although nine current New Zealand players, plus Brendon McCullum, will feature. Despite his impressive T20 record, Guptill had to wait for the second round of bidding while Ferguson was even later, picked up in the dying moments of the auction when brought back into the pool for a second time.
NZC have taken a pragmatic approach to the impact of the IPL on its international players, realising it risked alienating them if harsh restrictions were put in place over how long they could go for, given the limited earning potential from their New Zealand careers.
It has created controversy in the past, with a core of senior figures arriving on the eve of a Test match against England at Lord's in 2015. This time, players involved in the latter stages of the tournament will be allowed to miss the triangular one-day series in Ireland from May 12-24 which was viewed as a warm-up for the Champions Trophy.
The 15-man squads for the Champions Trophy have to be named 30 days before the tournament begins - which would mean May 1 - but it is likely to be a shadow New Zealand team which competes in Ireland, although some players could become available for the latter matches if their franchises are knocked out.
David White, the NZC CEO, said that while in an ideal world a full-strength squad would stay together, they had to continue to adapt to the impact of the IPL.
"I think our strategic approach to this one has been bang on: encourage our Black Caps to continue playing for New Zealand by allowing them to share in the opportunities now available in the professional market," White told the New Zealand Herald. "Don't force them to choose between cash and country and risk a backlash.
"At least on this occasion, they'll be moving from one short-form, white-ball tournament to another. I think a compromise in which our players can feel they're getting the best of both worlds is the prudent option."
The money is clearly game-changing for New Zealand players, but Boult said there was more to the IPL experience than counting the digits in his paycheck.
"I'm not going for the money. The experience of playing there in front of thousands of people is the most exciting part. I'm looking forward to rubbing shoulders with a few more international players and growing my game."
But, still, a few team-mates made sure he bought the coffee on Monday morning. "Tim Southee pretty quickly reminded me it would be my shout."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo