Key Points:

Four players axed, four in and at least that many intriguing questions raised on the New Zealand squad for the two tests against the West Indies.

Of the quartet dropped - Aaron Redmond, Peter Fulton, Tim Southee and Chris Martin - the last name is the eyebrow-raiser.

He took six wickets in the two tests in Australia, but the selection panel, Glenn Turner, Dion Nash and John Wright, want more out of him beyond good work when the ball is hard and new. A question mark has been raised over his full fitness, with a suspicion he's slightly down on pace.

So it's back to the championship for Auckland - ditto for Northern Districts man Southee, who has been impressive with the new ball but less so later in the innings - and a recall for Mark Gillespie at Dunedin's University Oval this week.

The Wellington quick has had an interesting New Zealand career. He's a bustling, lively outswing bowler, who took five on his test debut in South Africa in November last year.

His only other test - alongside 29 ODIs - produced six wickets against England at the Basin Reserve in March, but his fielding was distinctly average and there was an issue over his fitness.

Eight for 124 in Wellington's innings win over Northern Districts last week certainly helped "Dizzy's" case, and he provides one of several pleasing points of difference among the bowling options.

They also have left arm swing (James Franklin), accurate right arm seam (Iain O'Brien), medium pace containment with bounce (Jacob Oram), and spinners who turn the ball both ways in captain Dan Vettori and Jeetan Patel.

Franklin, back after 18 months off with knee problems, is averaging 149 from three State Championship innings, including 219 against Auckland, 160 against ND.

His bowling has been steady. His return was always likely, provided his knees stayed strong, but perhaps even he has been surprised at how quickly the call came.

He could find himself batting No 9 this week, which is fine in terms of lengthening the batting lineup. The downside? He'll only have a couple of batting pickles behind him.

Oram, who missed the Australian series with a back injury, will go into the test on the back of two games for Central Districts during which he has bowled over 60 overs, but had little batting.

And it's the batting, rather than bowling, which has been the sick child of the New Zealand team over the past six months.

Redmond has gone but consider the respective numbers put up by the two opening batsmen since they came together for the first test in England in May.

Redmond scored 299 runs at 23; Jamie How 353 at 25. Not much in it. Two things probably counted against Redmond.

Plenty of time has been invested in How, and he appeals as having something about him worth persevering with, although the clock might be ticking, with 16 tests having produced an average of 23.62; and the Otago player's second-innings dismissal at Adelaide, a wretched waft second ball of the day when New Zealand were looking to bat all day to save the test.

That dismissal, allied to a general failing by Redmond to grasp his opportunities, will have implanted itself in influential minds. Introducing a lefthander, Auckland's Tim McIntosh, to create a left-right opening mix is a good move.

But the No 3 job is a dilemma. How is an option, but if they'd done that it would have meant introducing two new openers at Dunedin. That was a step too far.

The options for Dunedin are Daniel Flynn or Jesse Ryder, with coach Andy Moles to make the final call.

In the last eight tests, New Zealand have had four players in that role - Stephen Fleming, who retired after the final home test against England at Napier, James Marshall, Brendon McCullum and Ryder.

The free-hitting Ryder doesn't look ideally suited, but it's a big call on the gritty Flynn.

He spent last season at No 5 or 6 for ND, hitting 663 at 60.27. His 13 test innings have been at No 6, apart from one innings at No 5 and one at No 7.

Flynn has yet to make a test 50 and is still finding his test feet.

Perhaps it's a reflection of the size of the predicament the selectors are grappling with.