Cricket: Four-prong pace attack too tempting for Blackcaps to break up, as Ajaz Patel axed to face Bangladesh

Even at the expense of Ajaz Patel, Blackcaps coach Gary Stead concedes that a four-pronged pace attack is the way his side are planning to win test matches in New Zealand conditions.

Patel, 33, was left out of the Blackcaps' 13-man squad for the two-test series against Bangladesh starting on New Year's Day at Mount Maunganui - even after becoming only the third bowler in the history of test cricket to take all 10 wickets in an innings.

But as the Blackcaps take a horses for courses approach to test cricket, Patel is the unlucky man to miss out on the summer's opening test, with Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson to make up the New Zealand attack.

And while the decision led to a difficult conversation between Stead and Patel, the Blackcaps coach is confident that the four-seamer approach which saw New Zealand win the World Test Championship will continue to pay dividends, especially in home conditions.

"We've shown, I think, success in the way we've gone about it in the past," Stead says.

"We think it's the right way to go still in these two tests, and particularly against Bangladesh as well - who are all probably more comfortable playing against spin bowling as well.

"We believe the four seamers and the way that we normally go is the right way for us."

The news came as no real shock for Patel, who had earlier made it clear that he understands he might be an outsider when it comes to home test matches - still yet to even take a wicket on home soil for the Blackcaps.

Although admittedly "disappointed" by his omission, Patel says he understands the rationale behind the decision, but hopes to see more spin-friendly home conditions in future.

"I think it only helps us grow as players as well," says Patel.  "From a bowling aspect, understanding how to bowl on those surfaces, but also from a batting perspective, learning how to cope with conditions that are different."

But for Stead, the conditions on offer at home simply mean breaking up the Boult-Southee-Wagner-Jamieson axis isn't a worthwhile decision.

"It's obviously a difficult decision for us to have to make, for a start," Stead adds.

"I think if you look at the reality of spin bowlers in New Zealand for the last four or five years, there hasn't been a lot of them take truck loads of wickets at all. That's not necessarily the spinners' fault. 

"But it also shows the strength with where we're at with our pace bowling unit at the moment.

"The key message that went to Ajaz is in New Zealand conditions, we think our four seamers is how we're highly likely to go. The role that they play isn't one that perhaps is the same as you'd play in Asian or overseas conditions.

However, that doesn't mean the Blackcaps will enter the summer's first test without any player capable of bowling spin.

Rachin Ravindra bowls against India.
Rachin Ravindra bowls against India. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Fresh from his maiden test series, 22-year-old Rachin Ravindra has been included in the 13-man squad, and will likely slot in at No.7 in the batting order as the all-rounder, Stead all but confirms.

"Don't forget, we still do have Rachin Ravindra in the side as well. So it's not like we're saying 'there's definitely no chance we're playing a spinner.'

"Given the history of playing at Mt Maunganui, I'd be surprised if Rachin's not part of that starting XI."