While Boult’s move, which has only come to a head over the last week, is not a retirement from international cricket, it means he will play much less for New Zealand – his selection will be made on a case-by-case basis – with priority given to those players who hold central or domestic contracts.
“What the debate has been is that is this going to start more players doing this from a New Zealand point of view? We’ve had no approaches from anyone else,” David White, the NZC CEO, told ESPNcricinfo. “They [the players] are still talking about Test cricket – and performing for New Zealand – as being incredibly important. And we’ve got a global event every year now.
“The other thing is that if you are going to get a big offer from a big league, you’ve got to be a successful international cricketer. So it’s very important that players perform in bilateral cricket as well.”
The desire to tour less and spend more time with his family was a key part in Boult’s decision, with White adding that the impact of Covid restrictions had been a factor too.
“He’s struggled more than most over the last year or two with isolation – he’s got three young boys – and we’ve tried to manage his workload, but think it’s still got to a stage where he’s found it incredibly difficult to be away from home,” White said.
However, there is also the link to the rapidly-growing T20 franchise world. NZC, which is unable to pay centrally-contracted players sums to match that available in England, Australia and India, has taken a pragmatic approach to the IPL for a number of years, allowing players to miss late-season home matches to join the league, and then either arrive very close for international fixtures or even miss the occasional Test.
But White said that such an approach would not extend more broadly given the impact it could have on the New Zealand season.
“We’ve indicated today that we are going to be very protective of our domestic window,” he said.
As with many teams, the upcoming crunch of T20 leagues in January impacts a period where New Zealand will usually be involved in international cricket, although this season it will see them overseas in Pakistan rather than at home, while it is also the heart of a domestic calendar which will include the Super Smash T20 competition.
Following the ongoing tour of the West Indies, which Boult will complete, New Zealand’s schedule includes an ODI series in Australia, a T20I tri-series at home ahead of the men’s T20 World Cup, a home series against India and then a tour of Pakistan. Their home season then resumes with visits by England and Sri Lanka.
Boult is still expected to be part of the World Cup, but beyond that, White said the parameters for any future selection had yet to be firmed up.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo