Trent Boult may not just be the best bowler in the country; he may well be the supreme athlete across all sporting codes, his New Zealand coach believes.
The left-armer who leapt to fourth-equal on the world test wicket-taking charts for 2013 with his bag of 10 against West Indies in Wellington, left his team-mates and management reaching for the superlatives.
Coach Mike Hesson led the way for the 24-year-old, whose record from 19 tests stands at 67 wickets at 26.92, after his career-best 10-80 in the Basin Reserve romp.
"I look at the fitness tests he's been through and we compare them with other sports and he's right up there and it shows with his ability to sustain that pace over long periods. He's a good athlete and he's still young and still trying to improve," Hesson said.
Fitness trainer Chris Donaldson compares yo-yo test results with those from other codes.
Asked if Boult's results were as good as the top All Blacks, Hesson said: "Absolutely, very favourably."
After slogging through 51 overs in back-to-back innings in Dunedin, Boult only needed 27.5 overs in Wellington as his intensity and prodigious swing accounted for the West Indies batsmen who looked clueless. His 41 wickets for the calendar year drew him level with South Africa's Dale Steyn and India's Ravi Ashwin.
"The way he presents the seam is as good as there is going around," Hesson said.
"He's got the ability to take top order wickets because he swings the ball late.
"He's got a good bumper and he keeps guys off that front foot, and he's extremely fit so he keeps coming hard.
"He can bowl three to four hard spells a day and has the ability to back it up."
Boult could barely have done more at the Basin. He cracked 38 not out, drawing him level with Richard Collinge as New Zealand's highest scoring No 11 with 184 runs at the impressive average of 23.
And his brilliant, one-handed diving catch off Corey Anderson to remove Denesh Ramdin made No 2 on sports channel ESPN's plays of the day.
"[Boult] was pretty pleased to be on there. I'm not sure [what was No 1] but it must have been pretty good," Hesson said.
After the innings and 73 run victory, Boult joined fellow bowlers Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Anderson, Ish Sodhi and gloveman B J Watling in the traditional celebration for Wellington test victories. It was New Zealand's first test win at the Basin since Bangladesh in 2008, but tradition dictates the bowling group hire a limousine and drive up Mt Victoria to toast their success.
Southee also got the plaudits for lifting the bowling attack, which appears the best balanced New Zealand test lineup since the late 1990s when Daniel Vettori emerged and Dion Nash and Chris Cairns led the way.
"Tim leads that attack. He really has taken some ownership this last 12 months. He talks in a language that all the bowlers understand; he's tough on himself and he sets high standards for the group. He was as impressed as anyone to see Trent do what he did," Hesson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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