Black Caps paceman and Mount Maunganui local Trent Boult started the New Year right – with a morning swim and surf at his home beach and then a spot of beach cricket in the afternoon.
It is those kinds of home comforts that make playing at Bay Oval a treat for Boult, who is eager to continue his good run of form after picking up nine wickets in the final test match against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
"It's just nice to be home, in your own bed and obviously in your own surroundings," he told the Bay of Plenty Times today.
"This time of the year, it's always exciting. You can see the beach is packed here this afternoon; all the holiday crowd coming through, so hopefully, a good crowd and some good cricket coming up."
The Black Caps play Sri Lanka in the first One Day International (ODI) of the series on Thursday at Bay Oval, with play starting at 2pm.
This will be followed by the second ODI at Bay Oval on Saturday.
MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said today that the weather was looking fine for both matches.
Thursday's forecast was for a bit of cloud in the morning, she said, but that should clear into a sunny day with a maximum temperature of 28C.
There will be westerly breezes on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Saturday's forecast is for a fine day with a maximum of 25C and light winds.
Boult was joined at Mount Main Beach this afternoon by fellow Black Cap Colin Munro and an eager crowd of young – and not so young – cricket fans.
Munro said he enjoyed playing at Bay Oval, where he has had some success in the past in the Twenty20 format.
"There's always plenty of runs and I think since they put the lights in, as well … under lights it does come on a bit better," he said.
"It's a great facility and it's just getting better and better every time we come down here."
"It's a big ground; it's obviously a very new ground, but the wicket's pretty good – it offers a bit of pace and the groundsman down here, Jared [Carter], knows what he's doing," he said.
"So a combination of that and literally just being on my back door is why I do enjoy playing here in front of my family and friends."
Boult said after a "tough tour over in the desert" he was happy to come home and get the ball swinging around a bit.
"So looking to move that forward to the white ball campaign and put some good performances out there."
One of the young fans running around with the two Black Caps, under a blazing afternoon sun, was keen cricketer Brittany Jenkins.
The 12-year-old all-rounder from Tauranga Primary said she was hopefully heading along to both ODIs this week.
She said she was looking forward to watching her favourite player, Trent Boult, take some wickets in front of a big home crowd.
As for today's beach cricket, she said it was "fun, but hot".