New Zealand must conjure a new opener from anywhere to replace the badly out-of-form Jeet Raval for the upcoming series against Australia, according to former test batting rock Mark Richardson.
Raval's run drought continued in the second test against England in Hamilton, his double failure featuring a two-ball duck in the second innings.
The 31-year-old's lack of confidence was exposed by his failure to review the lbw against him. The dismissal would have been overturned because of a blatant inside edge.
Raval has logged nine first-class innings since scoring a maiden century against Bangladesh in Hamilton in February.
His 83 runs have come at 9.2, leaving former Blackcaps opener Richardson calling for swift change ahead of the three-Test series starting in Perth next week.
"We've got an issue at the top with Jeet Raval, who's not, I would say, in a good headspace," Richardson told Newshub. "And Australia is not the place to go and play cricket when you're not feeling great about your game."
In Raval's favour is that the 15-man squad named last month was for both the England and Australia series, with just he and Tom Latham included as specialist openers.
"[NZC] said they'd selected the side for five tests - two against England and then three against Australia - but I think if there was a cause to make a change it's now.
"They have to decide whether he can pick himself up in the white-hot environment that is Australia and score runs. You'd have to say, at the moment, he doesn;t fall into the most seven or eight most likely run-scorers in the country."
There have been calls made this week from former internationals that wicketkeeper BJ Watling or allrounder Daryl Mitchell open. Back-up gloveman Tom Blundell has also been proposed.
Richardson endorsed both as potential replacements for Raval.
"I'm thinking about picking my best six or seven batsmen and so I'm looking at Tom Blundell in that. I'm looking at Daryl Mitchell as well if you're going to bring someone in.
Then saying to one of those guys 'if you want a chance, it's at the top of the order. Make a fist of it."
Richardson said he was impressed by the batting prowess of Mitchell, who is making his debut at Seddon Park in place of the injured Colin de Grandhomme.
Mitchell spent several years playing in Western Australia and had honed a sure technique off his back foot that would serve him well across the Tasman, Richardson believed.
He pointed to the horizontal bat strokemaking of former Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer as the key to their success.
Mitchell wasn't included in the initial Blackcaps squad but he could travel as injury cover to Perth while de Grandhomme shakes off an abdominal tear.