The New Zealand pacer, Trent Boult, was making his debut in the league, having been drafted in by the Melbourne Stars ahead of the season. And he marked his debut in the most true-to-form fashion possible – by being economical and picking up a couple of wickets on his debut. 

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Now granted, the first wicket owed as much to Brody Couch showing the tremendous presence of mind and completing a unique juggling catch as it did to Boult’s bowling. But the second wicket was even more critical as he got rid of Rilee Rossouw on a golden duck – and the South African was also on debut for the Sydney Thunder. Rossouw, it is worth noting, is a dangerous batter in the kind of conditions you see in Australia. To make things better, there was no juggling catch this time as Nathan Coulter-Nile completed a leaping catch.

The wicket put Boult on a hat-trick in the very first over of the second innings itself and it is tempting to think about what could have been if he had completed the hat-trick. The Stars were defending a meagre total of 122 and could have used that additional wicket. However, in the end, the Thunder got home on the last ball of the game. 

This would have undoubtedly soured Boult’s BBL debut, but it nevertheless highlighted his effectiveness with the new ball in even white ball conditions. Given Boult is now a freelance cricketer, having turned down a central contract from the New Zealand Cricket board, it is white-ball cricket that will be his bread and butter. 

Trent Boult is Everywhere Debuted in BBL 2022-23
Trent Boult is Everywhere Debuted in BBL 2022-23

Boult decided to forego a central contract to reduce his international workload and be more available for franchise leagues – where he will attract several offers as a proven match-winner and international performer. It also helps considerably that he will not play for New Zealand unless he chooses to – and if the New Zealand selectors then choose to recall him. 

In that sense, Boult becomes an even more important member of his IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals. He played a crucial part in their run to the IPL 2022 final. Now, free of international commitments, he will be able to focus all his time and energy on his franchises.

While Rajasthan have a strong pace battery, they have yet to acquire another bowler like Boult. He is effective anywhere in the game but is at his best when bowling with the new ball. He can generate swing early on and trouble the best of batters, thanks in no small part to the fact that they are also looking to attack. His latest showing proves that, even without the grind of international cricket, he remains a match-winner. This makes it all the more critical that the team management does all it can to ensure he remains a part of the Royals set-up in the coming years.

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