Cricket: Will O'Rourke's man-of-the-match debut leaves Blackcaps with huge selection headache to face Australia

The emergence of young fast bowler Will O'Rourke will give selectors a serious headache as the Blackcaps now look forward to welcoming Australia for a two-test series later this month.  

Slotting into the New Zealand ranks for the second test against South Africa, the 22-year-old quick claimed the best figures for a Kiwi debutant, bagging a match haul of 9/93, including 5/34 in the second innings.   

Those efforts with the ball earned O'Rourke man-of-the-match honours, despite Kane Williamson's unbeaten 133 steering the Blackcaps to their first series win over the Proteas in test cricket. 

Will O'Rourke.
Will O'Rourke. Photo credit: Getty Images

Standing at 197cm tall, O'Rourke has served as a like for like deputy to Kyle Jamieson this summer, after making his ODI debut against Bangladesh at the end of last year. 

Jamieson, 29, himself has battled hamstring worries this season, with O'Rourke's inclusion at Seddon Park coming to rest his senior counterpart to be fit to face the Australians later this month.   

Now, though, with nine wickets in one outing - albeit against a depleted South Africa - O'Rourke has given his biggest hint yet he's the real deal.   

"He's had an unbelievable start," said Blackcaps captain Tim Southee. "I saw a bit of him a couple of years back, he obviously has traits you like from a fast bowler.   

"He obviously had a taste in the one-day format earlier in the summer and to see him do his thing out there was pretty impressive.   

"It's great to see a young guy be able to come through.   

"He's only played 15 or 16 first-class games but he seems to know his game reasonably well. 

Will O'Rourke celebrates a wicket with Will Young.
Will O'Rourke celebrates a wicket with Will Young. Photo credit: Photosport

"I'm sure he's got a bright future at the highest level."   

However, while the Blakcaps' pace stocks haven't been low for more than a decade, O'Rourke's emergence is a huge conundrum for coach Gary Stead and selection manager Sam Wells.   

It would be harsh to drop O'Rourke to fit Jamieson into the pace attack, while the likes of Southee, Matt Henry and Neil Wagner are no mugs with ball in hand either.   

As captain, it is highly unlikely Southee will lose his place, while Henry hasn't taken a backwards step since becoming a test regular in the absence of Trent Boult.   

And while injuries have hampered his progress in the last few years, Jamieson's record of 80 wickets in 19 tests at an average of less than 20 is nothing short of world class.   

Against the Proteas at Bay Oval, the Blackcaps diverted from the four-pronged seam attack to fit Mitchell Santner into the XI. Whether or not the same tactics will be employed against Australia is still to be seen.   

With all of that considered, it could be Wagner to make way - should the Blackcaps stick with O'Rourke.   

Dropping Wagner would be an equally harsh move, given his years of success in the silver fern. 

But despite his 260 wickets in 64 tests leaving him behind only Sir Richard Hadlee (431 wickets), Southee (376), Daniel Vettori (361) and Boult (317) on New Zealand's all-time list, Wagner is 37 years old and approaching the end of his career. 

Just who is named to face Australia will be a big indicator as to who plays, as Southee gave nothing away in his post-match media conference after Friday's win.    

"We'll enjoy this series, [with] a bit of history to sink in and enjoy," he added. "We'll [later] shift our focus to Australia... see how everyone pulls up and there's a squad to be named at some stage. 

"But it's great to see Will come in and show he's more than capable at this level."