Why Kiwis must unleash express quick on Aussies
Former Black Cap Simon Doull has called for Lockie Ferguson and Todd Astle to both bowl against Australia in the first Test in Perth, believing attacking cricket is the only way to bust the lop-sided results of the last 20 years.
Doull also wants Jeet Raval's opening spot closely scrutinised, believing a conservative approach with both bat and ball in the series opener at Perth next week will only play into Australia's hands.
Of the last 28 Tests since the early 1990s, there have been 20 Australian wins, seven draws and a solitary Kiwi triumph in Hobart seven years ago.
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Former seamer Doull, now a prominent commentator, said two glaring weaknesses in an otherwise highly-competitive Black Caps squad are Raval's struggles and the lack of a quality spinner to compare with Nathan Lyon.
Uncapped pace bowler Ferguson wasn't picked for either home Test against England, which Doull said was a mistake.
He would have preferred one Test under the belt of the uncapped quick before being unleashed with a pink ball at a bouncy Optus Stadium.
Doull is unconvinced by left-armer Mitchell Santner's credentials as a Test wicket-taker and believes 33-year-old legspinner Astle, who has had minimal impact in his four Test appearances across seven years, could be a trump card.
"Although we've seen Mitchell Santner pick things up with the bat, his best is only three-for in first-class cricket and, to me, you cannot go to Australia without an attacking-type spinner," Doull said.
"You've got to go over there and attack Australia. If you sit back, they will dominate you and that's what they like to do.
"I'd rather see Kane Williamson use a spinner as an attacking option, rather than a secondary thought, which we've seen from him at times. If they decide to play Todd Astle, particularly in Melbourne and in Sydney, they may see some benefit from it."
Given the investment in Raval, Doull conceded they owed the beleaguered opener one more chance.
A Perth failure should prompt the selectors to ask backup wicketkeeper Tom Blundell or allrounder Daryl Mitchell - if the latter travels as injury cover - if they wanted to face the new ball at the MCG on Boxing Day.
"I would simply say 'this is your only opportunity, would you like to do it?' "I can guarantee both of them would put their hand up and say yes."