New Zealand have built a very settled and consistent top order, anchored around the outstanding Kane Williamson, and they will hope it remains that way. But what does the future of their batting look like? Peter Fulton, who is vacating his role as the team's batting coach, discusses four names that will be in the frame
First-class Matches: 74; Runs: 4745; Average: 42.36; HS: 162
List A Matches: 57; Runs: 1979; Average: 37.33; S/R: 85.00; HS: 136
T20 Matches: 65; Runs: 1406; Average: 25.10; S/R: 131.52; HS 96
Long touted as an international player, Young was set to make his Test debut against Bangladesh in March 2019, as a replacement for the injured Kane Williamson, before the match in Christchurch was abandoned due to the terror attack. A couple of months later he peeled off scores of 60, 130 and 111 against the Australians in the World Cup build-up series in Brisbane, but during that week it was confirmed he would have surgery for a long-standing shoulder problem. He returned to the field early in 2020, featuring in the New Zealand A side against India A, then finished the season strongly for Central Districts.
Fulton: "He's got the ability to play all around the wicket, off front and back foot, which is really important, and I think we saw that in our Test series [in Australia] over the last summer, that if you can't play off both front and back foot against pace bowling, you are going to find it hard in most conditions. If he can make runs early on then he'll be pushing hard for a spot. I think the fact he's had success, even in that series against Australia, will give him self-belief. It's a real shame he had to have the shoulder operation, because I think he would have given the selectors a real dilemma just by the way he performed in that series, and that's what you are looking for."
First-class Matches: 103; Runs: 6674; Average: 47.00; HS: 327*
List A Matches: 81; Runs: 3104; Average: 44.98; S/R: 85.86; HS: 152
T20 Matches: 70; Runs: 2221; Average: 39.66; S/R: 124.84; HS 105*
It has seemed a question of when, not if, South African-born Conway would play for New Zealand. He becomes eligible in August and it was suggested he would come straight into the reckoning for the T20 World Cup but that tournament has now been postponed. For the last two seasons he has topped the Plunket Shield run-scoring charts, while in the 2019-20 season he completed a full set by leading the way in the one-day and Super Smash tournaments as well. His returns included an unbeaten 327 against Canterbury last season, and he has been handed a central contract for 2020-21.
Fulton: "The last two years in domestic cricket he has dominated, scored runs in all three formats. I'm sure he'll play A-team cricket and may well get a chance for the Black Caps at some stage. He's a good example of someone who has just churned out the runs at domestic level and, similar to Will Young, I think he has a game that can succeed at international level because he can play the short ball well. Sometimes you see someone come on the scene and then oppositions start to work them out and it takes a while to rediscover that form. The key for him will be if he dominates at A-team level - the selectors want to see players who dominate at that level, then they trust they are ready."
First-class Matches: 17; Runs: 934; Average: 38.91; HS: 101
List A Matches: 12; Runs: 316; Average: 28.72; S/R: 92.66; HS: 130
T20 Matches: 14; Runs: 192; Average: 17.45; S/R: 138.12; HS 39
Unlike Young and Conway, who have considerable experience under their belt, Ravindra is still in his formative years but is already on the radar. He was in the Under-19 World Cup team in 2018, of which Fulton was part of the coaching staff, and his first-class debut came for New Zealand A against Pakistan A in the UAE later that year, where he made 70 in the first innings. He scored his maiden first-class hundred in the final match of last season, finishing the Plunket Shield campaign with 78, 76 and 101 for Wellington, having also featured in both the one-day and four-day matches against India A.
Fulton: "He's a highly talented batsman, can bat in the top three, and is a really good left-arm spinner. That's something in New Zealand we haven't had for a long time, someone who can bat top six and bowl high-quality left-arm spin. He's still young, but very mature for his age and he's someone who will certainly be on the selectors' radar. In New Zealand we traditionally leave it an extra couple of years because we think a player may not be ready, but some places around the world, especially the subcontinent, they don't follow that theory. He probably just needs one season of domestic cricket where he really dominates; he has shown flashes of it over the last couple of seasons but probably hasn't scored the amount of runs or taken the amount of wickets his talent would suggest he can. If he has one big domestic summer he'll be in the reckoning."
First-class Matches: 9; Runs: 303; Average: 25.25; HS: 66
List A Matches: 13; Runs: 260; Average: 20.00; S/R: 83.60; HS: 87
T20 Matches: 2; Runs: 25; Average: 12.50; S/R: 86.20; HS 20
Another member of the 2018 Under-19 team, he was New Zealand's top scorer in the tournament with 338 runs in six innings. His record does not yet stand out - a first-class average of 25.25 and one-day figure of 20.00 - and though he remains inexperienced, last season he scored a century for a New Zealand XI against England, whose attack featured Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.
A couple of months later he followed that with 87 in a one-day match for New Zealand A against India A. Having started his career at Auckland he has moved to Wellington for the 2020-21 season.
Fulton: "He was one of the standout batsmen in the Under-19 World Cup and scored a hundred against the West Indies. Although his century against England was in a warm-up match, it was against a quality attack. He's probably another whose weight of runs hasn't quite matched his talent yet, but if he has a couple of big seasons his name will be mentioned more often. He can play all round the wicket, has great hands. He's quite a wristy player and is certainly one to watch."