Fast bowler Trent Boult is set to make a return to the New Zealand T20I squad for the upcoming series against Australia, it was announced on Tuesday. The Royals pacer will be part of the team for the final two matches in Auckland. The series will see Tim Southee participating in the first match in Wellington on February 21 but not in the subsequent games.

At 34, Boult has seen limited international action after opting out of his central contract with New Zealand Cricket in August 2022 to participate in various global T20 competitions. Despite his absence from T20 internationals for over a year, his inclusion in last year's 50-over World Cup squad and potential selection for the T20 World Cup in June underscores his continuing importance to the team.

New Zealand will be without key players Kane Williamson, who is on paternity leave, and Daryl Mitchell, sidelined due to a foot injury. Filling their spots are Rachin Ravindra and Josh Clarkson, the latter being in contention for his T20I debut.

Under the leadership of Mitchell Santner, who successfully captained New Zealand to a series victory against Pakistan recently, the team is poised for a steep challenge against an in-form Australian side that is coming off series victories in the ODIs and T20Is against the West Indies.