In his first in a series of columns for NZME over the summer, New Zealand cricket great Chris Cairns looks at the make-up of the side ahead of the opening test against Bangladesh.
Ajaz Patel's axing from the upcoming New Zealand-Bangladesh series after becoming the third bowler to take 10 wickets in a test innings certainly presents a conundrum.
Is the spinner's omission potential mismanagement? Or is it reflective of the Black Caps' success? I'm in the latter camp.
Under coach Gary Stead's watchful gaze, Patel would have been spoken to after his Mumbai heroics and a holistic picture spelt out about his value to the group. That's because winning the next test series is all that matters.
Patel's exclusion shows an edge to this environment that has not always been prevalent within New Zealand Cricket. Unpopular decisions are a lonely path to trek, but an essential part of any triumphant formula. Buy-in is required from all internal stakeholders to make the situation work and that can be unbelievably tough to mould.
Success is never guaranteed as a result, but leans heavily in your favour.
This group is built around a winning philosophy where individuals must play their part when required in the variety of conditions each global opponent offers in their backyard. For instance, playing in New Zealand requires a blueprint which is well understood and has yielded superb results for many years. Patel's absence showcases this as part of the relentless pursuit of excellence.
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Captain Kane Williamson's recovery from an elbow injury and the lean pickings delivered by Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls in India also means playing Bangladesh shapes as a reset for the Black Caps' batting.
New Zealand employs a wicket-keeping all-rounder at No 6 to allow sustained pressure on opposition batters by employing five genuine bowling options. Blundell will be keen to demonstrate his value with runs over the next few weeks in a tough role which the retired BJ Watling performed with such aplomb. He'll be concentrating more than most throughout the opening test with the bat and behind the stumps.
Blundell now needs the confidence to know that regardless of failure he's guaranteed an extended run in such a pivotal position. Nicholls should play well in returning to familiar conditions and Taylor is a proven world-class performer. I hold no fears for this trio against Bangladesh.
The return of Devon Conway is also welcome, meaning the key selection dilemma is whether to play Rachin Ravindra at seven to bolster the batting - with his bowling an option throughout - or employ a five-strong pace attack by including Matt Henry.
On the bowling front, New Zealand have all bases covered. Left and right-arm swing, seam, steepling bounce and the heart of Neil Wagner. His value to the team, especially having missed out due to conditions in India, cannot be overlooked. His approach is inspirational and infectious.
The test world champions return home to play for the first time since their heroic win over India during June at Southampton. I expect Bangladesh will be outclassed in all departments as the Black Caps begin their ascension to cricket's pinnacle again.