Batsman Jesse Ryder is considering a return to test cricket for New Zealand's home series against England next month, just as warnings sound that the Black Caps might be shunned by other Test-playing nations.
Ryder said he will meet national coach Mike Hesson on January 29 to discuss his future, adding "I'm definitely not ruled out for a return for England".
The left-hander last played for New Zealand almost 12 months ago before taking an indefinite break to deal with fitness and personal issues. He has since scored 558 runs in first-class cricket at 69.75 and 508 runs in domestic Twenty20 matches at 63.
Ryder's comments came as national director of cricket, John Buchanan, warned that New Zealand's poor form might make it harder to find Test opponents.
Buchanan said on Wednesday that the Black Caps' recent poor performances in South Africa might mean New Zealand are awarded fewer tests under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) future tours program.
Under program which applies until 2020, New Zealand will only play two or three Test series. But Buchanan warned even those numbers could be reduced because New Zealand - ranked eighth among the nine test-playing nations - are not seen as a drawcard by prospective opponents.
"Certainly, performances such as this (in South Africa) and what we have experienced in recent times are not going to enhance our reputation as a Test-playing nation," he said.
"Any major changes to be made (to the future tours program) require a vote at the ICC and I would suspect that's not going to change too much. But I would suspect our capacity to play longer Test series or longer tours in other words, more games - is somewhat impacted."
The return of Ryder to the New Zealand line-up might help shore up their weak top-order batting for the England series.
He felt his time away from international cricket had helped him improve his technique and consistency.
"I think I'll be fine. I've had a good 11 months off working through a lot of stuff regarding that sort of stuff," he said.
Former captain Ross Taylor might also return to the team for the England series after missing the South African tour. Taylor withdrew from the Kiwi squad after being sacked by Hesson and replaced by Brendon McCullum.
New Zealand were also missing seam bowler Tim Southee and allrounder Daniel Vettori for the South African Tests, both of which the Black Caps lost by more than an innings. In Cape Town, they were bowled out for 45 - their third-lowest Test score.
Comments made by McCullum after the second-Test defeat in Port Elizabeth are being interpreted as suggesting Taylor's return might not be straightforward.
"There's going to have to be a process worked through to ensure the integration back into the team is smooth and everyone's got the best interests of the team at heart," McCullum said.