New Zealand pacer Trent Boult opts out of central contract

Fast bowler expected to have a reduced role with national team

Leading fast bowler Trent Boult has been released from his contract with New Zealand Cricket to spend more time with his family and focus on domestic leagues. AP
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New Zealand's premier fast bowler Trent Boult will have a "significantly reduced" role with the national team after he asked to be released from his central contract, New Zealand Cricket said on Wednesday.

NZC announced that the 33-year-old wants to spend more time with his family and make himself available to play in the domestic leagues.

Boult has taken 317 wickets for New Zealand in 78 Test matches, 62 wickets in Twenty20 cricket and is top of the one-day international bowling rankings.

"This has been a really tough decision for me and I'd like to thank NZC for their support in getting to this point," said Boult, currently on New Zealand's tour of the West Indies.

"Playing cricket for my country was a childhood dream and I'm so proud of everything I've been able to achieve with the Black Caps over the past 12 years.

"Ultimately, this decision is about my wife Gert and our three young boys."

Boult said that he understood the move would reduce his chances of playing international cricket.

"I still have a big desire to represent my country," he said.

"However, I respect the fact that not having a national contract will affect my chances of selection.

"As a fast bowler I know I have a limited career span and I feel the time is right to move into this next phase."

“We respect Trent’s position,” NZC chief executive David White said. “He’s been completely honest and upfront with us about his reasoning and, while we’re sad to be losing him as a fully contracted player, he leaves with our best wishes and our sincere thanks.

“Trent has made a massive contribution to the Black Caps since his Test debut in late 2011 and is now considered one of the best multi-format cricketers in the world. We’re very proud of what he’s achieved.”

Boult and Tim Southee formed one of the most feared new-ball partnerships in international cricket over the past decade, helping New Zealand to the inaugural World Test title last year and the finals of the last two 50-over World Cups.

With the proliferation of T20 leagues and the international calendar getting congested, more players are being expected to chose between managing national duties and pursuing franchise cricket.

Recently, star England all-rounder Ben Stokes decided to retire from ODI cricket, stating that playing all three formats was becoming "unsustainable". With the ICC also hosting one major event every year, the trend of players giving up international formats is likely to continue.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 10:19 AM