New Zealand's kings of swing Trent Boult and Tim Southee jazzing up World Cup
Tim Southee and Trent Boult are talking fast bowling under a blazing sun at their theatre of dreams - Eden Park.
Training is underway so they daren't catch the eye of their skipper or coach.
They are friendly types until the umpire says "play". Then they turn into magnificent competitors. Swing kings for New Zealand.
Southee is the joker, Boult the sensible one. They are firm friends and together ride the highs and lows that come with being an international fast bowler.
Wickets have come lately but on other days the pitch needs digging up, the umpire is blind, the ball is out of shape, the slips can't catch and the captain has me on at the wrong end.
Southee is the son of Northland farmers and was a promising blindside flanker, a standout for the King's College 1st XV in Auckland.
He is tall and rugged and knows more about his bowling craft than his prankster ways might suggest.
Boult lives by the beach at Mt Maunganui and plays golf off a four handicap. He is often ribbed by his team-mates but takes it all in his loping stride. He is meticulous in his preparation and often first into his work at training.
Southee and Boult are thrilled with their opening fortnight's work at the world so carry their heads high but keep their feet on the ground.
Often they speak the same language.
Asked to identify a quality they admire in the other, Southee says Boult's fitness while left-armer Boult singles out his partner's willingness to "keep trucking in".
When the topic moves to friendly rivalry and if, and how, they feed off each other there is not one hint of selfishness. They work for one another, happy to be in the shadow while the other is in the light. That said if Southee has two wickets under his belt Boult will be standing at fine leg desperate to get one beside his name on the scoreboard. It is a healthy environment.
What about when Boult was signed for $814,000 by the Hyderabad Sunrisers last week, nearly four times what Southee is on at Rajasthan Royals.
"I was pleased for him," Southee said. "We were all grouped around watching it [IPL auction] and seeing him squeal like a 14-year-old girl at a One Direction concert was very funny."
Boult knows it is the just the folly of an auction for the discrepancy doesn't reflect their respective abilities. "It was my lucky day. I'm not getting carried away. I haven't got the money yet."
The journey of a cricketer is never straight forward, and if it were it would not be as much fun.
We talk setbacks. Southee remembers being dropped a few times, notably against South Africa in 2012.
Boult remembers stress fractures in his back when he was young and as thin as a lamp post but determined to bowl quick. He too, remembers the pain of being left out of teams, but doesn't mention the battle to get into the very team he is playing for today.
"I've had a strange career. I didn't get picked for the Bay of Plenty Under 17s. Then I played for New Zealand A before I had played for Northern Districts."
One day Southee and Boult will sit in the grandstand, perhaps even together at a reunion for the 2015 World Cup team, and run their eye over the next crop of fast bowlers. Their advice to children is to work on their skill set and fitness.
"Not everyone can bowl 150kph an hour so you need to learn other things, like swing," Southee says.
Boult nods in agreement.
AT A GLANCE
Age: 26 One-day record: 127 wickets at 29.15, economy 5.16. 2015 World Cup record: 11 wickets at 10.09, economy 4.11
Age: 25 One-day record: 23 wickets at 32.43, economy 4.67. 2015 World Cup record: 5 wickets at 23.40, economy 4.50
- The Dominion Post