When Trent Boult is running in to the wicket, it is not hard to imagine him as an Olympic sprinter. He approaches the crease like a leopard approaching his prey, but rather than delivering the ball with the pace and fury that his run up would suggest, it’s his subtlety and control that causes the most problems for the batsmen.
Like a lot of left-arm pace bowlers, his primary variation is the contrast between a ball that angles across the right-handed batsman and one that swings back in. But the thing that makes Boult stand out is his late release point and good wrist control that means that he can bowl both a yorker or a bouncer without signalling to the batsman with a significant change in release. That results in batsmen getting hurried up by deliveries that are 5km/h slower than deliveries that they can play comfortably from other bowlers.
Boult has become one of the best all-format pace bowlers in the world, excelling with the new ball in Tests, one-day internationals and T20s. He’s part of the Northern Districts production line of quality pace bowlers, having been born and played all his domestic cricket there. Initially he was considered a Test specialist but was picked ahead of Kyle Mills for the last World Cup, and certainly took his opportunity, taking 22 wickets at an average of 16.86.
Since then he has established himself as one of the world’s premier opening bowlers, being consistently ranked in the top 10 (and normally in the top 3) by the ICC ever since the World Cup semi-final. He has picked up roughly 2 wickets per match, averaging less than 25 runs each.
His athleticism has also seen him become one of the best outfielders in the game. His highlight reel of catches, be they at gully, mid-wicket or on the boundary makes for spectacular watching. He also currently holds the world record for most sixes hit while batting at number 11 in both Tests and is tied for the most in ODIs, although his teammates probably hope that he does not get an opportunity to claim that by himself during this World Cup.