Trent Boult was left out of New Zealand’s call-up for the First Test against England

It would have taken Trent Boult less than half an hour to answer New Zealand’s seam bowling problems against England this week, but Black Caps coach Gary Stead has revealed talks of a late call never got off the ground.

Boult is one of only four Kiwis with more than 300 Test wickets and his presence would greatly strengthen the home team’s hand in the day/night Test at their home ground in Mount Maunganui.

But the picture is more complicated than that. Back in August the left-armer negotiated a release from his national contract, hoping to cash in on franchise offers, and his participation in the IL20 league was no surprise given his initial absence from the squad.

England v New Zealand - First Insurance Test LV = - Day Four - Lord's

Kyle Jamieson (left) misses New Zealand’s first Test against England with a suspected stress fracture (Adam Davy/PA Images).

But with two of the pace attack ruled out, Kyle Jamieson with a suspected stress fracture and Matt Henry with the arrival of his first child, SOS had an attractive solution for the local selection.

But while the idea was in the works, it was decided to put faith in those committed to red-ball cricket at domestic level, meaning uncapped pair Jacob Duffy and Scott Kuggeleijn were drafted in instead.

“Trent is back from the UAE and lives about 20 minutes from here. We discussed it internally but it was not decided not to go with Trent this time,” explained Stead.

“We spoke to him recently, but since Trent chose to opt out of his contract, we’ve made it pretty clear that other people would be prioritized. It does not mean that we have ruled out Trent in the future. There will be ongoing discussions and I’m not sure what the world cricket landscape will look like in six months. It may change again.”

England v New Zealand - Second LV = Insurance Test Series Match - Day Three - Trent Bridge

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead (pictured) has defended the selection of Scott Kuggeleijn, who was twice tried for rape before being found not guilty (Mike Egerton/PA).

Stead has praised the form of Duffy and Kuggeleijn of late, but has also been forced to address questions about the latter group’s suitability for the national side.

Kuggeleijn was tried twice for rape, with a hung jury unable to return a verdict in 2016 before the second person was found not guilty the following year.

Many were still left very confused by Kuggeleijn’s account of the incident and when he was represented in the New Zealand T20 team in 2019, banners saying ‘no’ and supporting the #metoo movement were seen on the grounds.

Asked if he judged Kuggeleijn on any grounds beyond his cricketing ability, Stead said: “I don’t think it’s my job to do that. The players I can choose from are given and he was on the list.

“We have lost a resilient character from a bowling point of view. When you lose two key bowlers, you look around and ask who can do a job for us internationally and he is someone who can.”

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