New Zealand must conjure a new opener from anywhere to replace the badly out-of- form Jeet Raval for the upcoming series against Australia, according to former Test batting rock Mark Richardson.
Raval's run drought continued in the second Test against England in Hamilton, his double failure featuring a two-ball duck in the second innings.
The 31-year-old's lack of confidence was exposed by his failure to review the lbw against him. The dismissal would have been overturned because of a blatant inside edge.
Raval has logged nine first-class innings since scoring a maiden century against Bangladesh in Hamilton in February.
His 83 runs have come at 9.2, leaving former Black Caps opener Richardson calling for swift change ahead of the three-Test series starting in Perth next week.
In Raval's favour is that the 15-man squad named last month was for both the England and Australia series, with just he and Tom Latham included as specialist openers.
There have been calls made this week from former internationals that wicketkeeper BJ Watling or allrounder Daryl Mitchell open.
Back-up gloveman Tom Blundell has also been proposed, such is the hole Raval has dug for himself.
Richardson's career was notable for his switch from a spin bowler to an opening batsman, going on to be one of New Zealand's best ever against the new ball with an average of 44.8.
"I know that New Zealand want to send a settled opening partnership but you've got a guy who is out of form, and you've got guys who are confident and feeling great about their cricket," Richardson said in Sky Sport commentary.
"I think sometimes you have to go 'you know what, we're forced into this so let's just go with the blokes we trust to make runs right now, our form cricketers'.
"Just say 'look, you're going to be opening, get your head around it. It isn't that much different."
Richardson said he was impressed by the batting prowess of Mitchell, who is making his debut at Seddon Park in place of the injured Colin de Grandhomme.
Mitchell spent several years playing in Western Australia and had honed a sure technique off his back foot that would serve him well across the Tasman, Richardson believed.
He pointed to the horizontal bat strokemaking of former Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer as the key to their success.
"Bowlers just couldn't run in and bowl back of a length," Richardson said.
"They'd take you on, so where do you bowl? The ability to play cross-bat shots in Australia is key."
Mitchell wasn't included in the initial Black Caps squad but he could travel as injury cover to Perth while de Grandhomme shakes off an abdominal tear.