Cricket: Blackcaps continue to overlook Trent Boult for England test series despite fast bowling crisis

There's been no temptation from the Blackcaps to bring Trent Boult back into the fray for this month's test series against England, despite the loss of two other key fast bowlers.

Last year, 33-year-old Boult opted out of his central contract with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) - instead choosing to ply his trade as a freelancer in various Twenty20 leagues around the world.

During the New Zealand summer, Boult hasn't featured for the Blackcaps on tours to Pakistan and India and instead played for Melbourne Stars in Australia's Big Bash League, and for Mumbai Indians Emirates in the UAE's International League T20.

Trent Boult.
Trent Boult. Photo credit: Photosport

The picture with Boult's future Blackcaps selection has always been understood to be dependent on his availability, seeing him compete at last year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia while uncontracted.

However, NZC has maintained a policy of selection priority going to those with central contracts.

But on the eve of the first test against England, beginning at Mt Maunganui on Thursday, the Blackcaps have lost not one, but two key bowlers.

Kyle Jamieson has been scratched from the series with a suspected stress fracture in his back, while Matt Henry will be absent for the birth of his first child.

As a result, Otago's Jacob Duffy and Northern Districts' Scott Kuggeleijn are in line to debut, called in as replacements to the 14-man squad along with the uncapped Blair Tickner.

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead said one of, if not both Duffy and Kuggeleijn, will debut in the first test on Thursday, but conclusively ruled a line through Boult's involvement in the series.

"We've spoken with Trent Boult recently," said Stead. "It's been decided since he gave up his contract that we would give priority to the locally contracted and domestically contracted players. We've done that on this occasion.

Trent Boult for Melbourne Stars.
Trent Boult for Melbourne Stars. Photo credit: Getty Images

"It was an internal conversation with us. But since Trent chose to give up his contract four or five months ago, we've made it clear that priority would go to others.

"That's not saying we've ruled Trent out completely of anything in the future. There'll be ongoing discussions.

"We're not sure what the landscape of the cricket world will look like in six months' time - it might look completely different again."

Even if called upon, it's doubtful whether Boult would be physically ready for the rigours of test cricket. 

Since opting out of his contract, Boult hasn't played a first-class match of any sort since last June, when the Blackcaps lost to England at Headingley.

Boult's time in the UAE only finished on February 10, playing for MI Emirates against Gulf Giants, meaning he has had no red-ball match practice in the lead-up to a test match.

But while red ball cricket appears to be unlikely, Boult himself has always targeted this year's Cricket World Cup in India as an event he'd like to play in if he's selected.

And as Boult and other players like Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham target Blackcaps sprouts for future tournaments, Stead is imploring a never-say-never approach for future selections.

"With the way the world of cricket is moving so quickly at the moment, it would be remiss of me to make too many predictions about what it will look like in the future," Stead added.

"I think it's something I know we, as New Zealand Cricket, and the players association will keep working through and understanding what that will mean for us in the future.

"It's changed a lot in the last six months, I don't really want to predict what it will look like in the next six months."