December 18, 2019 / 4:02 AM / 2 months ago

New Zealand quick Boult on track for 'dream' Boxing Day test

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult says he is “ticking all the right boxes” in his rehab as he looks to return for the Boxing Day test against Australia.

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand's Trent Boult, shown in a file photo, is one of a small number of players to return home after they lost the World Cup final to England. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

Boult was ruled out of the opener of the three-match series at Perth Stadium with a rib injury as injury-hit New Zealand suffered a 296-run thrashing in the pink-ball test.

The left-arm quick got through a nets session unscathed on a scorching hot day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday in a boost to Kane Williamson’s team.

“(I’m) feeling pretty good. Probably a little bit frustrated to be on the sidelines watching the games go by,” the 30-year-old told reporters.

“I feel like I’ve been rehabbing well. The ball’s coming out alright, I’m hoping to be pushing for Boxing Day and getting back out there.

“The side has been the issue. It’s about rehabbing that, letting it rest and cool down.

“From there it’s about being confident with the overs under my belt and having enough behind me. I feel like I’m in that place and ticking all the right boxes so far.”

Boult said he would look to continue his recovery in a two-day game against a Victoria state XI starting on Friday as he works toward what would be his first test at the MCG, which traditionally draws a huge crowd on Boxing Day.

“I appreciate that stage for what it is,” said Boult, who played in front of 93,000 spectators at the MCG in the 2015 World Cup final defeat by Australia.

“Test cricket is my favourite format, this is the stage a lot of people dream of being on,” Boult said.

“To get this opportunity in my career is definitely something I’m looking forward to.”

Boult bowled in the MCG nets on Wednesday to out-of-form opener Jeet Raval and reserve wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell.

New Zealand media pundits have urged selectors to pick two-test Blundell in place of lefthander Raval, who has managed a top score of 19 in his past five innings.

The third and final test of the series starts in Sydney on Jan. 3.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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