Luke Ronchi of New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images
A happy homecoming looks set to be denied New Zealand’s ex-West Australian batsman Luke Ronchi ahead of the second Test in Perth.
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson backed their bowling attack to turn the tables in their three-Test trans-Tasman series, shutting down talk of adding batting firepower.
“We won’t go with a straight batsman; we have said we need five bowling options,” Hesson said of replacing the injured James Neesham (back) at No.6.
“We saw when we lost one [Southee] how undermanned we were.”
Left-arm quick Matt Henry is on standby for Southee and off-spinner Mark Craig will be retained for Perth despite tour figures to date of 4-505.
Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell will be their other specialist bowlers for Perth.
Spin bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner is the obvious option to bolster their attack in Perth.
Former WA keeper-batsman Ronchi is an explosive hitter and would have backed himself for a Perth recall after impressing in his sole Test to date for New Zealand.
He thrashed 13 fours and three sixes in a 70-ball innings of 88 runs that helped spark New Zealand’s series-levelling 199-run second Test win over England at Leeds in June.
Ronchi has played 60 ODIs for New Zealand since leaving WA in 2012.
He played four ODIs and three Twenty20s for Australia from 2008-09 but found it hard to break into the WA squad, let alone eclipse then national wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
B.J. Watling is New Zealand’s first choice Test keeper.
But Hesson said bowling would be the key to yet another dramatic series turnaround by New Zealand. The Kiwis have not lost their last seven Test series thanks to their new-found ability to bounce back.