Trent Boult’s decision to pull out of New Zealand Cricket’s central contract has left the cricket fraternity surprised. The 33-year-old left-arm pacer is one of the vital cogs in New Zealand’s fast bowling unit across formats and is one of the best in the world at present. Boult had requested to be released from the central contract to spend more time with his family.
His decision, however, has sparked a debate on players preferring franchise cricket over national duty. While he will continue to represent New Zealand in international cricket, Boult is set to have a significantly reduced role for the Black Caps and is likely to feature in only major tournaments.
With many questioning his decision to snub a central contract, Australian pace great Jason Gillespie has backed the Kiwi quick insisting that the cricket landscape is ‘changing’. Gillespie believes a vast majority of players still want to play for their countries but the priorities will shift in the future.
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He also extended support to Boult stating that it was nothing wrong with a 33-year-old fast bowler trying to maximise his earning potential and reducing the amount of cricket he plays to spend time with his family.
“Whether we like/agree or not, the cricketing landscape has been changing for a while now. The absolute vast majority of players want to play for their country first and foremost. There will come a time however when priorities shift,” Gillespie wrote on Twitter.
“A 33 yr old seamer wanting to maximise his earning potential whilst he has currency AND get to spend more time with his young family? Hard to argue with that imho. We need to explore ways to make sure international cricket stays at the forefront of everyone’s thinking going forward,” he added.
Explaining his decision, Boult said it was a tough one but he decided to prioritise his family over the game. The eft-arm speedster, however, remains in the reckoning for the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia later this year despite not being a centrally contracted player anymore.
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Boult has so far played 78 Tests, 93 ODIs and 45 T20Is for New Zealand, picking up 317, 169 and 63 wickets across the three formats, respectively. Boult is New Zealand’s 4th highest wicket-taker of all time in Test cricket at present and needs another 44 scalps to pip Daniel Vettori to the 2nd spot.