Demoted Black Caps test opener Jeet Raval's turmoil across the ditch means Wellington wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell is the stand-in opener for Thursday's Boxing Day test against the Aussies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
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While everyone in the Aotearoa hopes for Blundell's success, another candidate waits in the wings to be Tom Latham's new right-hand man.
Enter Northland and Northern Districts opening batsman Henry Cooper.
The 26-year-old Onerahi Central product has grafted at a regional and domestic level for years now which has prompted some in the cricket community, including veteran cricket broadcaster Bryan Waddle, to suggest Cooper may be the answer to New Zealand's opening batting woes.
However, if you ask Cooper, he'll tell you his focus for the coming months will be churning out the runs for any team he plays for, an objective he has certainly fulfilled in recent performances.
Playing for Northern Districts (ND) in a four-dayer against Otago in Dunedin in November, Cooper hit his highest first-class score of 149 and was the last man out in his team's first innings total of 243.
Then, following a disappointing non-selection for the ND T20 side, Cooper again showed his prowess at the top of the order, this time for Northland who won the Brian Dunning Trophy T20 competition last week.
Cooper hit an inspired 107 off 59 balls, which became Northland's highest-ever T20 total and just the second Northland T20 century, behind Ollie White's 100 the day before against Bay of Plenty.
For Cooper, who first played for ND in 2016, recent success has simply been a byproduct of a new and improved mentality.
"I've just gone out and wanted to play cricket in a brand that I want to play," he said.
"It's pretty easy to sit back a little bit and take things as they come, rather than going out there and trying to impose yourself on a game and that's all I've tried to do this year."
Now in his fourth season with ND, Cooper has booked his spot in the four-day team and is solidifying his position in the middle order in the one-day format, which is no small achievement with the number of Black Caps who feature for ND.
However, Cooper maintains his priority is not his own success, but that of the team.
"As soon as you lose that team attitude, it works as an antagonist against you sometimes," he said.
"If I can be the man that's driving the energy and having the presence around the side, that's my focus and that has seemed to snowball into some good performances this year, which is good."
While he admitted his recent ND T20 snub had been disheartening, Cooper said he was glad to feature again for a victorious Northland team and was shocked to see how far the team's younger players had progressed.
"It's a great environment, it was just fun and refreshing to see the young guys go out there and play with no fear.
"I wish I was like that at their age, play with absolute freedom and not look behind you, just go out there and express yourself."
When asked of his Black Caps aspirations, Cooper was quick to deflect any suggestion he would represent New Zealand any time soon, and said thinking as much would only distract him from the task at hand.
"Everyone thinks about playing for New Zealand and obviously I do, but I think if you get caught up in desperately trying to play for New Zealand, you lose your team-first approach which is really important to how I go about things mentally."
However, with New Zealand set to face the world's best in tough conditions on Thursday, Cooper said a small part of him will be dreaming of the day he gets his chance at the top.
"It doesn't get tougher than that and that challenge would be something everyone dreams of," he said.
"If I get a chance to be put into a challenge like that one day, I'll absolutely relish it."