Instead Of Hopes Of A Fight, The Archer Fire With Lockie Ferguson > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Stead hopes to fight the Archer fire with Lockie Ferguson

Can Lockie Ferguson be the explosive Test bowler New Zealand are after?

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has hinted at the inclusion of fast bowler Lockie Ferguson for the first Test against England with an eye on fighting the Jofra Archer fire with some fire of their own. Stead identified Archer as the potential "point of difference", citing the England quick's impact in the Ashes when he took 22 wickets at an average of 20.27.

Archer, all of four Tests old, will be central to England's plans in the two-Test series, who have previously missed an outright fast bowler to squeeze juice out of an ageing Kookaburra ball particularly on their trip to Australia in 2017-18. New Zealand themselves have lacked an explosive fast bowler in their ranks despite possessing fast bowlers of varied skillset in their rise up to No.2 in the Test rankings. It is for this reason that Ferguson's Test debut is much anticipated.

"Jofra Archer will be a threat. He is a point of difference. But he can only bowl from one end," Stead said. "And we've someone in our squad who bowls at a similar type of speed in Lockie Ferguson. It's really exciting to be able to fight fire with fire in some ways. And it's exciting that there's a potential debut for him at some stage as well. I think 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.

"It sounds like Archer bowled fast in Whangarei. Every time he's bowled, he's bowled with heat so I don't think that's a big surprise to anyone. He's a world-class player and he started in the Ashes with a real hiss and a roar. For us it's about getting used to that extra pace and then combating it and working out a way you can continue to score," he added.

The hosts themselves have a pool of five fast bowlers - Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry and Ferguson - to pick from, a selection headache Stead doesn't mind enduring. "We've five seamers that are all worthy of Test selection," Stead said. "I'm loath to use the word 'rotation' because that's not what we're about at all but we'll pick horses for courses of what we think the right bowling attack is for any given surface and also that we have five Tests in about a six-week period as well.

"For us, it's working out pitch conditions for a start, whether he will be a greater threat and factor than other bowlers that are in the line-up and then just looking at things like conditions."

Stead, though, was quick to add that omitting spinner Mitchell Santner for an all-pace attack was unlikely because of the Bay Oval wicket's reputation for rapid disintegration. "I think that's unlikely because the weather forecast looks so good over the next week," he said. "Also, this is generally a pitch that's worn pretty quickly and perhaps provides the footmarks that open up a wee bit more," Stead added.

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