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Saturday Nov 16 2019

‘Awesome year for fast bowlers in international cricket’

Ferguson hopes to "bring a little bit of anxiety" to England and Australia’s batsmen. Photo: Reuters 

WELLINGTON: New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson has said that international cricket has had an "awesome year with fast bowlers", and that he hopes to "bring a little bit of anxiety" to England and Australia’s batsmen after being named in the squads for their upcoming Tests against those opponents.

Ferguson is in line for a Test debut, having exclusively played white-ball cricket in his international career to date, but has an impressive first-class record, with 153 wickets at an average of just 24.30 in his 42 games in the format.

"[I’ve] been very much focused on white-ball [cricket[ for the last year," he admitted. "I think I played three first-class games - a couple against India A - last summer, and then obviously not a lot over the winter we just had.

"I’ve played a lot of red-ball cricket for Auckland and some ‘A’ games as well, so I understand what it takes to be a fast bowler at that level, and you can’t always go at 100 percent like you can in one-day and T20 - you have to pick and choose when to bowl quick spells, and that’s all part of the learning process.

"[Test cricket] is definitely going to be a new challenge. Obviously like in other formats, it’s a step up from domestic level, and fortunately I’ve played quite a lot of these players before at that level, so it’s not completely new. But the red ball is a whole new different beast, and it’s the longer form both mentally and physically, so it’s going to be a challenge."

Ferguson faces a tough challenge to break into New Zealand’s side. Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner have formed an impressive seam-bowling trio over the past five years, and since November 2017, they have played as a triumvirate in all but one of New Zealand’s home Tests.

But head coach Gary Stead has hinted at rotation over the next five Tests, given New Zealand’s punishing upcoming schedule, meaning that there should be opportunities for Ferguson and Matt Henry at some stage.