Last week New Zealand selector Sir Richard Hadlee implored the country's batsmen to find some courage; tomorrow's naming of the test squad to face Bangladesh will almost certainly demonstrate the panel have lost theirs.
After a fraught selection meeting in Sydney during the midst of New Zealand's disastrous twin tours of South Africa and Australia the talk was of possible changes, of a new beginning in the five-day game. Now it appears a few cheap one-day runs and wickets against over-matched minnows will be enough to retain a status quo.
The selectors will decide that it would be a mistake to make wholesale changes. However, with a test team that is so obviously failing every time it comes up against decent opposition, the biggest mistake is surely to sit back and do nothing.
The most high-profile beneficiary will be Scott Styris who was rumoured to be facing the chop after scoring just one test century in the past three-and-a-half years - a number barely acceptable for any batsman, let alone one who has played most of his test innings from the plum No 4 and 5 slots.
With his reduced capacity as a bowler there was a reduced need for him in tests, but a battling half century against Australia in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and some solid contributions against Bangladesh have almost certainly saved his skin. With Peter Fulton earmarked for No 3, the domestically prolific Mathew Sinclair - who can only dream about what he might have done had he the same sort of unbroken run Styris has had - and erratic but promising Ross Taylor will likely be squeezed out. While Taylor can have little complaint, Sinclair, who scored a double ton in his one first-class match this season, must feel the gods are against him.
At the top, a flurry of one-day runs has seen Jamie How push his way into consideration for two spots that were initially reserved for Craig Cumming and Matthew Bell.
Despite Bell scoring a flood of State Championship runs - 722 at an average of 103.1 - there is a nagging feeling he might be the one to miss out. Part of the reason the naming of the team has been delayed is that this is the one position still being debated.
Speaking on radio yesterday morning, New Zealand's greatest batsman Martin Crowe plumped for an opening partnership of How and Bell. He said the records of Cumming and incumbent opener Michael Papps "did not make for great reading".
"Perhaps Craig Cumming deserves another go but I'm not sure he's got the form behind him."
Of Bell, he said: "He's in the form of his life, so why not use him?"
Crowe believes How has tightened up his technique over the winter and is now playing the ball later and from under his eyes.
In the bowling department it is almost certain to be status quo, depending on the fitness of Mark Gillespie. That would mean no room for Andre Adams despite the combined talents of Gillespie and his Wellington colleague Iain O'Brien falling well short of the outspoken Aucklander's.
Perhaps they could reason that with Shane Bond likely to come back into the squad against England, it is merely a seat-warming exercise anyway. While you could argue that it doesn't matter who the selectors pick against Bangladesh there is a wider, important context to this selection. They must pick the 12 players (13 if there is need for cover) they expect to face England as there will be no meaningful first-class cricket in the interim to pick from.
So instead of asking have we got the attack to trouble Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed and Tushar Imran, they must ask whether the likes of O'Brien and Gillespie are a match for Michael Vaughan, Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen.
None of the home batsmen should have trouble accruing runs against this Bangladesh attack, but have they the skills and diligence to score centuries against Stev Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and Monty Panesar?
The test team they had in South Africa could not cope with that attack, have a few one-day runs made them any more capable of prospering against an only slightly inferior England attack?
The answer to that is almost probably no but the selectors will treat the return of Fulton as a panacea. With one test 50 and an average of 26.4 in five tests he is an unlikely cure-all.
When faced with the prospect of doing something or nothing to revive the corpse that is New Zealand's test cricket, it seems the path of least resistance will be travelled.
Likely starting XI for first test against Bangladesh, University Oval, Dunedin, starting Friday: Craig Cumming, Jamie How, Peter Fulton, Stephen Fleming, Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori (c), Kyle Mills, Mark Gillespie (if fit), Chris Martin.By Dylan Cleaver Email Dylan