Ferguson relishes being that “aggressive death-overs bowler”
Lockie Ferguson has shown that he can really bend his back and crank up the speedometer. (AFP Image)

Lockie Ferguson is relishing the new role of a bowling finisher following his exploits in the two ODIs against Bangladesh. Ferguson bowled wonderfully at the death in both Napier and Auckland, keeping the Bangladesh batsmen on their toes. In the first game, bowling his last over – and the 48th of the innings, Ferguson sent down a wicket maiden as Bangladesh were all out for 232.

While in Wellington, Ferguson bowled four overs in the end to give away just 12 runs and pick two wickets – of Sabbir Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin, folding Bangladesh’s innings for 226. Ferguson has showed tremendous speed and accuracy in his bowling, and even though New Zealand have shown tendency to leak run in the death overs, Ferguson’s rise has been a pleasant surprise.

“We have some of the best swing bowlers in the world but swinging the new ball isn’t my strength,” Ferguson said. “My position comes after them as a first-change. I have been working on my death-over options. It can be tough in one-day cricket to look for wickets through the middle. When guys soak up the pressure a bit, I am probably less aggressive.

“I think [taking wickets] is part of my role, for sure. To be a bit of an aggressor and create chances. But by no means do I have a free role to go for plenty of runs. I think that still a big part of my work is to create the opportunity and also be economical. One-day cricket is about restricting runs. I enjoy the role and it has been going well for me in recent times.”

Ferguson concedes that he gets a kick each time he is able to dictate terms and pick wickets to shun the opposition.

“Ever since I have come into the team, we have been an aggressive side with the ball. If we are always trying to take wickets, we will bowl teams out. I think that’s the mindset of all the bowlers today. It is exciting when all the bowlers are taking wickets. The whole squad is stepping up.”

Ferguson could always bowl quick, but lately he has really cranked it up on the speedometer, clicking over 150 kmph and beating the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for pace during the India ODIs.

Ferguson was utilised well against Sri Lanka and India as well, often coming as a second change, when needed, opening the attack (the India T20Is in the absence of Trent Boult). With New Zealand’s pace bowling attack shaping well ahead of the World Cup, Ferguson can be a key figure in the company of Boult, Tim Southee and Matt Henry.

“One of my weapons is to bowl quick, and I have done a lot of work throughout my career to be fit enough,” he said. “More important for me is to bowl quick for longer period of time. If you can maintain pace, bounce and aggressiveness throughout the whole innings, you can get opportunities to get wickets at the start and end as well. I pride myself on my fitness, and staying in the park throughout the full season with the speed.

“I think every player is excited about the World Cup. I am focusing on game to game. I am excited that I am showing up every game, I am focusing on that game myself. If I can put on performances that help the team, it is the key. Down the line, a place in the World Cup squad will take care of itself.”x