Initially not expecting to feature in the ongoing second Test against England, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult is hopeful that achieving game fitness rather than bowling in the nets will put him in 'good stead' in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final against India.
Boult, who missed out on the first Test against England as he opted to spend time with his family after the suspension of the IPL in May, was also set to miss the second match as well.
However, the pace spearhead was out of quarantine sooner than expected as UK relaxed its quarantine rules.
"Initially I wasn't expecting to play this game but everything fell into line, and I gave myself that chance to get out there and I think I'll definitely be better off for that head out," Boult was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"It's one thing loading and getting through numbers in the nets but to simulate that kind of game fitness and having to come back three, four or five times in a day … there's no real other way to do that. So I'm hoping it puts me in good stead (for the WTC final)."
The inaugural WTC final between Indian and New Zealand will be held at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18-22.
"The toes are a bit sore but that's what happens when you ram into the shoes for 30 overs. I'm excited about what lies ahead next week in Southampton but equally excited with the opportunity here over the next couple of days," Boult said.
The first Test between New Zealand and hosts England ended in a draw. The visitors made six changes for the second match which began on Thursday, with captain Kane Williamson rested due to a left elbow injury to give him a chance to heal before the WTC final.
"What worked really well was the travel went well and I managed to get out of isolation in the UK quicker than was expected.
"As you can imagine, I was very excited with the prospect of playing the second Test. I felt like I gave myself the best chance with preparing with that week back at home and then getting straight into it here.
"Hopefully, we can get the job done and win a very important series."
New Zealand have plenty of bowling options ahead of the marquee Test next week with pacers Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry performing well in ongoing series but Boult feels some "hard calls" are on the cards.
"Healthy competition," Boult said about their pace-bowling options for the WTC final.
"The boys are very excited about the prospect, but they've put in a lot of hard yards not just over the last couple of weeks but over a couple of years of a Test Championship cycle.
"Some hard calls will have to be made but the big picture is the collective goal of lifting the World title," he added.