Need to put pressure on Indian batsmen in Tests, says NZ pacer Boult
New Zealand pacer Trent Boult sought to play mind games ahead of the first Test against India, saying the visiting batsmen are too attacking and that sustained pressure can get them to commit errors.
"The Indians are attacking batsmen. Everyone knows how they are going to play. I will look to target them with swing and exploit their defensive techniques with the ball moving both ways. As long as we can get them to play shots in the areas we want them to, it's going to be rewarding for us," Boult said on Tuesday.
"Of course, Tests are a whole different ball game than the ODIs, but the basics remain the same. If you consistently bowl in good areas, in terms of line and length, and swing from there, that works in all formats. But it's definitely going to be a challenge because they are world class batsmen," he added.
New Zealand will take on India in the first Test in Auckland, starting on February 6.
Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Rogan Ward/Reuters
'You cannot get carried away with bouncers and half volleys'
When asked if the short-ball will be his weapon of choice as well, given how the Indian batsmen struggled against the Black Caps in the ODI series, Boult replied, "Well, you have to mix them up with a good line and length to put pressure on the batsmen."
"Bowl them once every two or three overs and then that bouncer will keep them off their game. Then look for the good length ball and try to induce an error. But even if it doesn't work, you cannot get carried away with bouncers and half volleys," he said.
The hosts' top-ranked Test bowler Boult has returned to full fitness from an injury lay-off but wreaked havoc in the West Indies Test series that was a prelude to this contest, picking up 20 wickets in three Tests.
"It's good to get in the middle and get a few overs after an injury break. I want to take confidence out of that because we have a big challenge coming up here in a couple of days. I am fully fit now, but yes I was disappointed to get sidelined because of that. Still, it was good in a way because I am ready now for this big series.
"Swing bowling with consistency was the secret of my success against the West Indies. I am expecting similar conditions in the next couple of weeks and I am eager to exploit them," he said.
Image: Trent Boult
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters
'Zaheer is here and he is a world class bowler'
The first Test will be played on a drop-in pitch at Eden Park, while the second Test beginning February 14, will be in the good-old home of swing bowling in New Zealand that is the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
"In Auckland, we have a drop-in pitch and I have just played one Test here [against England in early 2013]. But it is a good pitch with ample bounce. It can be quite good for batting and then takes turn towards the end of the Test, but I doubt that will be the case this time around because spin is a strong point of the Indians. But it is generally a good wicket," Boult said.
"Basin Reserve is one of the better wickets in New Zealand in terms of aiding fast bowling as well as swing. It is always a pleasure to play there," he added, reminiscent of his 10-wicket haul there against the West Indies in December.
Aiding him in this success, two figures have stood out for Boult in the New Zealand pace-bowling department -- his fast-bowling pairing with Tim Southee and, of course, their bowling coach Shane Bond.
"Shane has been in this role for a year or so. He has been a very successful bowler for New Zealand and has a great cricketing brain. He stresses on bowling in partnerships and where we can target the opposition. He has had a good core of players to work with, so we have been rewarded in that sense. It is great to have him on board with us," said Boult.
"It is a good mix with Tim [Southee]. We are good friends and we enjoy bowling together. He swings the ball away from the right-hander and I swing the ball back in, so we complement each other and like to bounce ideas off each other," he added.
Boult's true idol though is from elsewhere. Being a left-hander himself, the New Zealand swing bowler has been a keen observer of how the legendary Wasim Akram shaped up for Pakistan.
"Sadly, I haven't had a chance to interact with Wasim as yet, but definitely saw a lot of him growing up and of course I idolised him. Having said that, Zaheer [Khan] is here and he is a world class bowler. I want to rub shoulders with him if I get the chance," Boult signed off.
Image: Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters