Cricket: Blackcaps coach Gary Stead all but confirms Trent Boult to miss tests against South Africa, Australia to finish home summer

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead has poured cold water on the chances of Trent Boult returning to the whites, with tests against South Africa and Australia concluding the Kiwi cricketing summer.  

Boult, 34, hasn't played a test since June 2022, after handing back his NZ Cricket central contract to pursue opportunities as a freelance franchise player.  

While that decision has seen the left-armer play in Australia, India, the UAE and US in the meantime, there is a very real chance Boult has played his final test for the Blackcaps.

Trent Boult celebrates (2022).
Trent Boult celebrates (2022). Photo credit: Photosport

Currently, Boult is with Mumbai Indians Emirates in the UAE's International League T20, scheduled to finish on February 18.  

Should Mumbai Indians Emirates, currently fourth on the ILT20 ladder, fail to reach the finals, Boult could be available as early as February 12. 

The Blackcaps will next face South Africa at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval from February 4-8 and Hamilton's Seddon Park from February 13-17.

That clash, coupled with the fact Boult will have no chance to get any red-ball match practice in, has left coach Stead drawing a line through his involvement against South Africa at least.

"I'll have a conversation with Trent, but at the moment, probably not," said Stead. "It's very hard to see how you come from a T20 diet into test consideration with no cricket to be played before that."

While Boult would be available for the two-test series against Australia starting February 29, it's also unlikely he'lll be selected, unless he makes a first-class return to gain match fitness.   

However, given his volume of white-ball cricket, Boult will highly likely be available for this year's Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA, and potentially the three-match series against Australia next month.   

In better news, Stead allayed any fears over the availability of Kane Williamson to face South Africa.  

The master batter withdrew from the final three matches of the 4-1 Twenty20 series against Pakistan last week with a hamstring injury suffered batting in game two.  

Trent Boult appeals.
Trent Boult appeals. Photo credit: Getty Images

The injury came in the same leg in which Williamson suffered his knee injury last April, despite a miraculous comeback for last year's World Cup in India. Given the extra rest afforded to Williamson, Stead maintains he'll likely be available to face a weakened Proteas squad.   

"I'm confident he'll be alright," he added. "He's probably got another day or two before he's back into training.

"He's seeing the physio right throughout. It was a minor niggle, which was a good thing.  

"We didn't want to aggravate it and didn't see the point in aggravating it now with the important series that are ahead.  

"He's obviously a key player, we know that. We want to make sure we've given him every chance of being available."  

The Blackcaps squad to face South Africa will be named on Friday.