“Trent Boult has been as good as any other fast bowler throughout his career but has always found himself second in the reckoning to most other modern day names. Hopefully, he will get the recognition he deserves in the coming time ahead”
When we talk about present-day fast bowlers, our attention immediately shifts towards names like Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Amir, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn, among others. The way they make the batsmen uncomfortable at the crease, with their raw pace, seam movement and sometimes swing as well, is fascinating to watch. That’s why these names are the ones that stand out among the vast pool of modern day fast bowlers.
But how often do we talk about someone like Trent Boult? His name is certainly not the first name that would come to anyone’s mind when they hear the word ‘fast bowler’. He has silently gone about his business all these years, racking up wickets for fun. Yet he has always found himself overshadowed by the Starcs, Rabadas and Bumrahs.
However, he reminded every one of his class once again when he ran through the Pakistani top order yesterday in the first ODI of the series at Dubai, and thus claimed a hat-trick in the process. He castled up Fakhar Zaman first on the second delivery of his second over and followed it up with the wicket of Babar Azam who edged a full and wide delivery straight to the hands of Ross Taylor in the slips.
Finally, he pinned Mohammad Hafeez on the pads to complete his hat-trick in what turned out to be a mesmerizing spell of left-arm fast bowling.
He was getting movement both in the air and off the pitch and hence had the batsmen all at sea against him. This has been his strength all these years. He is dangerous with the new ball and an asset for any team to have.
He shot himself to fame with his match-winning spell of 5/27 against Australia at Auckland during the 2015 World Cup. Since then he has produced many fabulous spells of fast bowling, one among which was a spell of 7/34 against West Indies at Christchurch, but his spells are forgotten somehow considering the lesser number of matches New Zealand plays as compared to other teams.
Since 2015 World Cup, he is second on the list of highest wicket-takers, yet anyone would have hardly noticed that.
Table: List of fast bowlers with 50 or more wickets since World Cup 2015
The above table shows that Boult is just one wicket behind Kagiso Rabada to become the highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers since 2015 World Cup. Not only that, he has claimed those wickets in far lesser number of innings than that of Rabada (42 as compared to 54). In fact, his strike rate of 26.9 has been the best among the top five wicket-takers during that period.
If the records are streamed down to that of the last one year then we will see how Boult has been the best during this period, despite the fact that New Zealand had been inactive for almost the last six months or so.
Table: Top five fact bowlers with most wickets in the last one year
The table above shows how Boult has been way ahead in the race in the last one year as compared to other fast bowlers. His 31 wickets have come in 13 innings. Amongst the top fast bowlers who have the most number of wickets since World Cup 2015, only Jasprit Bumrah has made it to the top five in this stream owned list of last one year.
Kagiso Rabada, the highest wicket-taker since the 2015 World Cup, isn’t anywhere near to the top five in this list. He has 16 wickets to his name in 12 innings during last one year at an average of 31.75 and strike-rate of 39.1; something which is nowhere to matching the numbers of the bowlers in the one-year list. Hasan Ali’s numbers have deteriorated during the last one year as well. He has 17 wickets in 13 innings at an average of 34.52 and strike-rate of 36.7.
Although Liam Plunkett has done decently having claimed 19 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 27.47 and strike-rate of 26.0, the numbers are still a far cry from that of Boult and others.
In this series against Pakistan, Boult will certainly surpass Rabada as the highest wicket-taker since 2015 World Cup. He has worked as hard as any other fast bowler throughout his career but has always found himself second in the reckoning to most other modern day names. Hopefully, he will get the recognition he deserves in the coming time ahead.