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NZ vs England 2021 – Trent Boult in line to play second Test after relaxed quarantine in UK

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Boult is out of isolation “three or four days earlier than expected,” coach Gary Stead says

Trent Boult is firming as a chance to play the second Test against England at Edgbaston starting June 10, having previously only been inked in for the World Test Championship final against India.

Boult joined the New Zealand squad late last week having opted to return home after the aborted IPL rather than head straight to the UK.

Before the opening Test, coach Gary Stead indicated the turnaround for Edgbaston would be too tight for Boult but updated quarantine protocols have allowed him to train immediately after arriving which has advanced his preparations by a few days. While a final decision on whether he plays on Thursday will not be taken for a couple more days it would now be a surprise if he did not line up.
“There’s a chance, there are a few things that have changed,” Stead said after the drawn first Test. “The British government has relaxed their quarantine stipulations so Trent is out of isolation three or four days earlier than expected.

“The original plan we had in place with all the information we had at the time was we weren’t going to play him in the second Test, but coming out of that isolation probably three days earlier than what we originally anticipated does put a slightly different spin on it. So we’ll weigh up the pros and cons and work out with Trent what we think is the best course forward to make sure he is fit and raring to go for that final.

“Trent is more keen than he was a week ago and that’s because he’s over here now, he’s part of the environment. Probably right now it’s a bit early to make that call, he’s only been here 48 hours and probably still suffering a little bit of jet lag.”

If Boult was available for Edgbaston somebody would have to make way from the attack that featured at Lord’s and had England under pressure almost throughout. It could present the chance to manage the workloads of Tim Southee (42.1 overs at Lord’s), Kyle Jamieson (41 overs) or Neil Wagner (40 overs) ahead of the WTC final against India with Southee perhaps the frontrunner to be rotated.

“We have to manage all the bowlers,” Stead said. “Haven’t had that conversation yet with Tim. He bowled really well, he’s a work horse and loves the hard work. Again, a conversation we’ll have with our support staff in the morning to see where everyone is at and scrub up before we make that firm decision.”

Mitchell Santner was hampered in the second innings by the finger he injured during the build-up in Southampton. Though he went wicketless in the Test (he should have had Rory Burns stumped on the fourth day) Stead was pleased with how he bowled and sees a spinner as having a continued role to play. Ajaz Patel and the uncapped Rachin Ravindra are the other spin options in the squad.

“Mitch got the scab knocked off where it’s been heeling…another one we’ll talk through tomorrow,” Stead said. “I thought Mitch bowled really well, that first innings in particular, and could easily have picked up two or three wickets, cleaned them up 50-60 runs earlier. If that had been the case the game might have looked different.

“It’s hard when you look at a five-day game to not consider a spinner. At various times it’s always good to have those different options. The pitches here provide us a with a slightly different outlook to what they do in New Zealand.”

Overall, Stead was delighted with his team’s performance at Lord’s in what was their first Test since January. “We set the pace, we were confident enough to leave England a chase on the last day and throw the option to them about whether they were prepared to take that carrot or not. Takes a confident team to do that, so said to the boys I was really proud the way we were prepared to do that.”

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