Having received his maiden Test call-up, New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson said that he wants to use his pace to be the source of much anxiety for the opposition batsmen, in the upcoming home series against England.
Comprised of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner, New Zealand have a well-balanced pace attack. Boult and Southee are experts in moving the ball, while Wagner complements them with a penchant for bowling lengthy spells of short-pitched bowling to force errors from batsmen on the most placid of tracks.
Now, Ferguson, who received his maiden call-up to the No.2-ranked Test team's squad for their upcoming series against England, is set to add another feature to this already robust attack – that of out-and-out speed. If picked in the XI, Ferguson recognises that his job would be to unnerve batsmen with his fearsome pace.
"That's part of my role in the team ... to bring a bit of anxiety, potentially, by bowling extra speed," he said. "It opens you up to different tactics in how you bowl at batters and putting them under pressure and potentially making them a little bit nervous about the short ball."
The ability to bowl fast can be a formidable weapon by itself, but if paired with relentless accuracy, it can make a bowler especially lethal. Ferguson says he has worked on that aspect of his game in recent seasons, and the dividends have started to show in white-ball cricket.
With 21 wickets at 19.47, he was the second-highest wicket-taker at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, after Australia's Mitchell Starc. He didn't miss the fact that the leading wicket-takers at the marquee tournament were fast bowlers, despite the hype around spinners, especially of the wrist-spin variety, and hoped he could replicate that in long-form cricket too.
"I think international cricket has had quite an awesome year with fast bowlers and the World Cup," Ferguson said. "Early on, they were talking about spinners being the real threat, and it was exciting for me to be part of the fast bowling fraternity and to see the fast bowlers at the top of that [wicket-taking] list. I don't think it changes to Test cricket... fast bowlers are going to create a threat and cause problems for batters just from pure pace.
"But at the same time, you have to be accurate. Personally, that's one thing I've worked on for a long time – bowling quick but making sure I'm putting it where I want to put it.
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