With Jofra Archer on one side and potentially Lockie Ferguson on the other, raw pace looms as a key factor in the Black Caps versus England Test series, perhaps more than any other series in New Zealand in recent memory.
Black Caps coach Gary Stead did nothing to play that down as he admitted there was a temptation to hand World Cup star Ferguson a Test debut to “fight fire with fire in some ways".
Interestingly, Ferguson did not bowl in New Zealand’s training session today.
Archer, who struck several NZ A batsmen during a warm-up game in Whangārei last week, would be a point of difference in the Bay Oval’s first Test with his out-and-out pace, Stead said.
“For us it’s about getting used to that extra pace, combating it and working out a way you can continue to score,” Stead said.
“It’s obviously a point of difference but we have got someone in our squad who bowls at a similar speed, who’s pretty quick, in Lockie Ferguson.”
“A potential debut for him at some stage to fight fire with fire in some ways.”
Stead was delighted with the balance of quicks in his squad with Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Matt Henry all worthy of selection and competing for three spots.
“It’s really good in terms of the balance of the squad that we have five pace bowlers who all offer us slightly different things,” he said.
“For us it’s working out pitch conditions for a start, whether he will be a greater threat than the other bowlers who will be in the line-up.”
“Looking at conditions and I’m loathe to use the word rotation cause that’s not what we’re about at all, we’ll pick horses for courses of what we think is the right attack for any given surface and also that we have five tests in about a six-week period as well.”
Stead said omitting spinner Mitch Santner for an all-pace attack was unlikely because of the Bay Oval wicket’s reputation as one that wears quickly.
Batsman Henry Nicholls said facing Archer at the World Cup would hold him in good stead for the Test series.