Spotlight on NZ transition after Boult confirms this will be his last T20 World Cup

New Zealand

Could it be the end? Is it over? For Trent Boult, at least, it is.

“Speaking on behalf of myself, this will be my last T20 World Cup,” Boult told the media after taking a tone-setting 2 for 7 in what was essentially a dead rubber against Uganda.

In T20 World Cup matches all told, his returns are excellent. He has 32 wickets in 17 outings, and an economy rate of 6.07, the second-best among the tournament’s top ten all-time wicket-takers.

Boult, now 34, has anyway only been a sporadic presence in New Zealand international sides since he was released from his central contract almost two years ago. If this is his last T20 World Cup, it may follow that the world has seen the last of him in ODI World Cups as well – the next T20 World Cup is set for 2026, but the next ODI World Cup is scheduled only for the year after that.

Although New Zealand have not made the Super Eight of this ongoing tournament, Boult still has one final T20 World Cup match remaining, against Papua New Guinea on Monday.

Confirmation that Boult will not play another T20 World Cup brings into sharp focus the future of what is now an ageing New Zealand team. In this squad, only three players will be under 30 years of age by the time the team returns home (Mark Chapman has a birthday over the next few days).

It is natural to question whether this is the beginning of a transition period for New Zealand, particularly after they failed to progress out of their group. New Zealand had made the semi-finals of every ODI and T20 World Cup since 2015.

Boult and Tim Southee had played significant roles in the majority of those campaigns. After this game – in which they bowled unchanged through the powerplay to leave Uganda 9 fo 3, and finished with combined figures of 5 for 11 in eight overs – Boult spoke as if he felt there would be limited opportunities for the two to play together in the future.

“I look at the partnership with Tim with very fond memories,” he said. “We bowled a lot of overs together. I know the partnership very well, and obviously he’s a very good friend on and off the ground. It was nice to wind back the clock a little bit and see a bit of swing bowling at the top. Some great memories, and hopefully a couple more still to come.”

Earlier in the tournament, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had also been asked whether he saw this tournament as the end of a generation, to which he replied: “No, I think there’s still guys that will be here for some time.”

But at the very least, New Zealand will soon have to find a replacement for one of their greatest-ever quicks.

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