New Zealand’s bowling depth will face a massive examination after Trent Boult was ruled out of the first Test against Australia, starting in Perth on Thursday.
The Black Caps remained hopeful their star pace bowler would feature after coming through a Wednesday night net session seemingly unscathed.
Battling to overcome a side strain to face Australia in the day-night Test in Perth, Boult bowled for around 20 minutes at high intensity in the Optus Stadium nets.
However, Fox Sports is reporting that the Kiwi quick ran out of time to prove his fitness.
Boult’s absence opens the door for young paceman Lockie Ferguson to make his Test debut.
New Zealand greats Shane Bond and Ian Smith both called on the Black Caps to unleash Ferguson’s express pace on the home side’s batsmen.
Ferguson's possible Test debut looks increasingly likely after Boult's withdrawal.
Former wicketkeeper Smith said Ferguson and his 150km/h thunderbolts should feature in Perth, even if it meant coming at the expense of spinner Mitchell Santner.
"They've got to wake up, pull the curtains open and find out where they are and that's Australia and that is conducive to bowling fast," Smith, a Fox Cricket commentator, said.
"They've all seen him do very well in the World Cup but you can't coach 145-150kph.
"It's very accurate it's very often hard to play and commands respect.
"I might even think about playing four (fast bowlers).
"Just going at Australia and saying 'you against us, us against you, fight fire with fire'."
With two of the best exponents of swing bowling in the world in Boult and Tim Southee, the tourists' depth will be tested by the former's omission.
New Zealand has been boosted by the fitness of Colin de Grandhomme, who has batted and bowled in training despite suffering an abdominal strain last month.
Ross Taylor will also be fit, despite copping a blow on the thumb in training on Tuesday.
Ferguson was a star of the World Cup with 21 wickets at 19.47, while he also averages 24.30 at first-class level.
‘Consistently the fastest bowler in the world’
The Black Caps opted for Matt Henry over him to replace Boult in New Zealand last week, but the calls are growing louder for Ferguson's inclusion.
The 27-year-old also has the support of one of New Zealand's finest ever quicks, with Bond wanting him to feature in the series after having worked with him previously.
"You'd say he is probably consistently the fastest bowler in the world," Bond, who is now coaching Sydney Thunder, said.
"They could arguably play 4 quicks in Perth if they want to. Which would be interesting, but I don't know if they will.
"He went to the World Cup and was one of the best bowlers there. He bowled brilliantly in the final, so there's no doubt about his temperament."