Trent Boult's athletic fielding, combined with his superb bowling helped New Zealand restrict India to 252 in Wellington. (Image credit: Twitter)
Trent Boult is well-known as a world-class bowler and his 5/21 in the Hamilton ODI was testament to his great skills. However, not many are aware that Boult is one of the best fielders in the world as well. In the Wellington ODI against India, Boult was on fire not just with the ball but also in the field and his athleticism helped New Zealand restrict the damage after Ambati Rayudu’s brilliant 90 and a magnificent 22-ball 45 from Hardik Pandya which propelled Indian cricket team to 252 all out. Boult continued his great run by getting rid of Shikhar Dhawan for 6 but it was his delivery to MS Dhoni that provided the fans at the Cake Tin with a memorable moment.
Boult angled a full ball across on off stump and the delivery straightened on off stump, the former India skipper missed it to be cleaned up for 1. However, Rayudu’s 98-run stand with Vijay Shankar (45) and 74-run stand with Kedar Jadhav (34) laid a solid platform for India and Hardik Pandya’s blitz off 45 off 22 balls put India on course for a big total but it was in the 49th over that Boult’s fielding took precedence.
Pandya miscued a high full toss from James Neesham to deep backward square leg, Boult ran back and had to go from sun to shadow in the region. However, he kept his eyes on the ball and took a stunning catch. The left-armer ended the innings in style in the final over when last man Yuzvendra Chahal tapped a full ball back to Boult, Mohammed Shami set off for a non-existent run and was sent back mid-pitch. Boult ran to the bowler’s end and flew like superman to break the stumps and run-out Shami.
The image of Boult running and throwing himself onto the stumps to un-out a batsman evoked memories of Jonty Rhodes, the ace South African fielder’s effort against Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 World Cup clash between Pakistan and South Africa in Brisbane. Inzamam looked to slog pacer Brian McMillan to square leg but the ball hit his pad and ballooned to point. Inzamam wanted a run but was sent back mid-pitch. The batsman turned but Rhodes ran like a hare from point and threw himself at the striker’s end to demolish the stumps and run-out Inzamam.
This is not the first time Boult has displayed such athleticism at international level. In the 2013 Test against West Indies at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, Denesh Ramdin cut a short ball from Corey Anderson but Boult at point dived to his left and plucked a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Ramdin. In 2014 against India at the same venue, Ajinkya Rahane miscued a full ball to extra cover off Tim Southee but Boult ran forward and dived to take a catch with one hand.
In a Twenty20 match against the West Indies in Dominica, Kieron Pollard pulled Anderson to deep midwicket but Boult took a one-handed catch but lost his balance, he jumped over the ropes while tossing the ball up, he came back in and took the catch diving parallel to the ground. In the Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore game in Bangalore, Boult took a stunning catch near the boundary to catch Virat Kohli. Kohli flicked a full toss from Harshal Patel to deep square leg but Boult turned around and took a catch over his head to complete a brilliant catch near the boundary.
Boult can bowl marvellously. Boult can field like Superman. Trent Boult is indeed a master.