Ross Taylor's injury-enforced absence from the one-day international series against Pakistan and Australia raises an awkward question: Who would replace him if the 31-year-old's not fit to play the tests against Australia?

The answer is blurred. An MRI scan indicated Taylor had suffered an oblique left side strain batting in New Zealand's final Twenty20 match.

This is the man who forced the Australian bowling attack to yield in the second test at Perth in November. His innings of 290 broke England batsman Tip Foster's 111-year-old record of 287 for the highest test score by a visitor to Australia.

The contenders to replace him, probably in this order, are:

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Henry Nicholls: The 24-year-old has built a solid first-class platform of 35 games and averaged 43.22 in last season's Plunket Shield. Two centuries and an 88 for New Zealand A against Sri Lanka A give his CV further gloss. At an ODI level he appears to have fitted in seamlessly. Luke Ronchi: The limited overs wicketkeeper could play as a left-handed specialist batsman, probably at No5. His short form batting might be struggling but give him white flannels and he's like Clark Kent in a phone box. He has two Plunket Shield centuries from four innings this season - one came against Northern Districts with Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Made 88 off 70 balls in his solitary test at Headingley.

Will Young: The 23-year-old scored 909 Plunket Shield runs at an average of 53.47 in 2014-15 and has a couple of half-centuries from three innings this season. Didn't feast on the Sri Lanka A attack to the extent of Nicholls. He played the northern hemisphere summer and was on stand-by for the second test at Headingley when injured keeper BJ Watling played as a batsman.

Dean Brownlie: There's an assumption the 31-year-old won't be recalled after making the transition to open, but Brownlie is a proven test commodity at No4. In four outings there, all on the ill-fated 2013 South African tour, he made 0, 109, 10 and 53. The 109, his sole century in 14 tests, came after New Zealand's shredding for 45 in Cape Town.