By Peter White
Kane Williamson is back to full fitness and looking forward to spending hours at the crease in the next few months.
Good news indeed for Black Caps supporters that their best batsman and captain is fully recovered from the debilitating illness he suffered in India.
Williamson has enjoyed a week back at Mount Maunganui polishing his surfing skills, hitting the gym and catching up with family and friends.
He will now ride the wave of public expectations as he leads the Black Caps in home series against Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa between now and end of February.
It all starts in Christchurch tomorrow with the first test against Pakistan.
"Yes I'm absolutely looking forward to it. It is always great playing at home and I think certainly the whole team are looking forward to getting into the Pakistan series after a few days off after a tough series in India," Williamson said.
"[Pakistan] are one of the top teams in the world at the moment and I put that down to a really well balanced side. They have got a very good seam attack, one of the best spinners in the world in Yasir Shah and they have been batting well in all conditions.
"So it is going to be a tough challenge, one that hopefully we can exploit our conditions better than the opposition which we would back ourselves to do."
The Black Caps went to India with high hopes of becoming the first New Zealand team to win a series there but a succession of heavy defeats put paid to that.
Williamson said the conditions were difficult and losing the toss in all three test matches did not help.
"The conditions more and more nowadays are getting extreme in some ways to the home teams, which provides a different challenge to face from when we were there last time and the time before.
"Winning the toss is extremely helpful particularly as a western side going over there that doesn't have the spin quality they have, who are among the best in the world.
"Every touring side in the last wee while has gone there and really struggled and it was unfortunate we were no different. You certainly come away having been exposed. There is a lot of opportunity to learn and improve and it is important we do that."
Williamson is now comfortable captaining his country after taking over from Brendon McCullum.
"Captaincy is not something that is on your radar when you are a kid. You always wanted to play for the Black Caps, that was the dream.
"It is certainly an enjoyable challenge and you certainly learn a lot about the guys, a lot about yourself, particularly in tough times.
"When [McCullum] was captain the team made some huge strides and now he is not there it is important we recognise the new direction that the team needs to go in.
"We have to do things slightly differently. We have a great bunch of guys and we are all buying in to what we need to become more successful, particularly in test cricket.
"It is important we stick together and come out of it fighting, which is what we will always do."