Lehmann: Pace not as important in NZ


Australia coach Darren Lehmann has hinted that express pace may not be his main criterion for picking bowlers for the Tests in New Zealand, and that variation and discipline may be more important.

With New Zealand's venues taking swing more than Australia's do, the 'velocity' factor has been toned down, and the likes of Joel Paris, Jackson Bird, and Jason Behrendorff could get a chance.

With Mitchell Starc still far from a return, and Mitchell Johnson retired, there is room for some new fast bowlers in New Zealand, to work alongside Josh Hazlewood, who has become the de facto attack leader.

Lehmann said on ABC Sport of Starc's absence against the West Indies: "We certainly missed that extra pace knocking over the tail and the way he swings the ball and really hits the pegs against the tailenders is important.

"The pace thing, for me, is really important when you're talking (about being able to dismiss) batsmen number seven (though to) number eleven.

"We've missed that in this series, but more so on Australian wickets (it is important). I think New Zealand will be different, where it moves around a little bit.

"Pace is not the biggest thing for us. It's actually good control and (putting) the ball in the right areas. It's about getting the right attack for New Zealand first and foremost.

"That might be a totally different attack than our 'normal' attack, if you like."  

As for the shorter formats, Lehmann said he would be using the ODIs and T20s against India this month to look at some new faces ahead of the World Twenty20 in India in March.

He added: "With our injures (to pace bowlers) we've got to look at some players anyway. So this gives us a chance to do both this time, and very rarely do we get a chance to do that.

"We're pretty close (to settling on a squad for the World T20) but there are still performances in the Big Bash League that will come into play.

"And obviously our three T20s against India at the back-end of the one-day series will be important for us.

"But we've got a pretty important one-day series and then we've got a very important Test against New Zealand (before then)."