Boult: Still trying to master craft of swing bowling
Interview/ Trent Boult
Calcutta: Trent Boult, who has quickly emerged as a leading new-ball bowler in the past few years, spoke to The Telegraph in the lead-up to Monday's IPL XI match at Eden Gardens.
The New Zealander is in his debut year with the Delhi DareDevils, his third franchise in the numero uno T20 league, and arrived in India on the back of superb performances against England at home.
A relaxed Boult took all questions, without even suggesting that he was actually getting late for an informal session of the DareDevils.
Q You were in red-hot form against England in the days just before the IPL...
A England are a quality side, so I was satisfied with my performances... Test cricket is, as you know, my favourite and a very fine team effort helped New Zealand win a series against the visitors after almost two decades.
Q Given that you play for New Zealand in all three formats, is your body taking a beating?
A The body keeps going, but the just-ended international season was pretty light on Test cricket as we had a lot of white-ball stuff... As a professional I'd like to be part of teams which win matches and series.
Q Is staying fit the No.1 challenge?
A Getting wickets when the ball isn't swinging, like in India... That's the No.1 challenge. Bowling bouncers is still a big weapon for me, but one needs to be smart in order to change the pace.
Q Rhythm, one assumes, is all important...
A It's all down to rhythm when it comes to fast bowling... There's aggression too... Nowadays, I think I can find my rhythm a lot quicker on different surfaces. I do love bowling at home as the ball swings quite a bit.
Q You came into the IPL a matter of days after the Christchurch Test, forcing you to quickly adjust. How did you cope?
A Heat hits you... The wickets are also different, but you have to quickly move on. That's the way the world works today, with so much cricket going on. It's a challenge I enjoy.
Q This is your first year with the DareDevils, after appearances for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). How different, if at all, are the DareDevils?
A Each franchise has similarities in some ways, as everyone is very passionate with a common cause, which is to do very well in the IPL. I'm certainly game to test myself against some of the best, like Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli... Even Brendon McCullum... That said, international cricket is the pinnacle, but I'm grateful for the opportunities in the IPL.
Q Thoughts on Ricky Ponting, the DareDevils' head coach. No Trans-Tasman rivalry in this case, surely...
A Ricky's brilliant, to be honest. He's clear in his head and doesn't muck around... Ricky knows what to expect from his players, even though they belong to different nationalities. Rubbing shoulders with Ricky has been a nice opportunity, thanks to the DareDevils.
Q Gautam Gambhir, the DareDevils' captain. Some words on him...
A Actually, I played under Gambhir for KKR last year. He's a great guy, focused and competitive.
Q What about pressure in the IPL?
A Pressure is there all the time, irrespective of the format, irrespective of the team one is playing for. A lot of quality fast bowlers are knocking on the doors in New Zealand, so my place isn't guaranteed... The IPL has a massive viewership, which means many are constantly watching you... The expectations are big, so there's pressure. However, the IPL is a huge stage and I'd like to pit myself against the top batsmen.
Q Your take on the T20 format?
A When T20 got introduced, the impression one had is that spinners would go out of business. Instead, in most situations, quality spinners are like gold. It's an interesting format but, as a fast bowler, you can't read too much into it.
Q Why not?
A Because you could do well with a particular game plan one day, yet the same strategy could see you go the distance the very next day.
Q How do you balance the highs and the lows?
A I don't get overjoyed when things are going really well and do not get too frustrated and kick the turf or get too down when things aren't going well. No matter how the day has gone, I try and have a smile... Enjoy the opportunities that come my way.
Q Well, how many marks would you give yourself on 10?
A Can't give a number... I'm always trying to improve and look to embrace challenges. I'm still trying to master the craft of swing bowling... A lot remains to be done.
Q In an earlier interview to me, you'd said you set goals. You still do?
A Yes... I love winning, like a lot of others. In general terms, my target is to take the team I'm playing for to a good position.
Q What separates the greats from those who are merely good?
A Confidence... I grew up watching and admiring Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Dale Steyn... All were high on confidence, stayed focused and looked very calm.
Q Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A I haven't planned... I'm 28 now, so I hope to still be playing for New Zealand... Hope to be there in the IPL as well... Five years on, I'd like to get the same opportunities.
Q One more... How would you describe yourself?
A (Smiles) Just a relaxed person... I like to keep things very simple and enjoy... That's my philosophy in cricket... International sport is not easy, which is why I keep it very simple... Of course, I definitely love being a fast bowler.