Jeet Raval is working to a timetable with an end point of March 22, the first day of the pink ball test against England under lights at Eden Park.

The test specialist showed there's not much wrong with his ball striking and form, with a cracking 149 off 153 balls to push Auckland to a convincing win over Canterbury this week and into today's Ford Trophy final at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park.

Sure, it wasn't a four-day first-class fixture, the closest in game form to test cricket, but the lefthand opener reckons runs are still runs. .

And in Raval's case, he has never come close to a look in at national level in one-day cricket. He has always been viewed as a player whose game is best suited to first-class cricket.


"It gives me confidence that I can still put up those numbers in the shorter form of the game," he said. "My immediate focus was to help get us to the final because we'd been beaten by CD a few days [before] convincingly. It gave me reassurance that I am good enough to play in this format."

The international door is shut now, with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, the blockbusting pair, at the top. Others will be ahead of Raval in the one-day queue but he's right; runs made at a decent clip never hurt in any argument on selection.

Raval is a classic example of a player hindered by New Zealand Cricket's international schedule this season. He played two tests against the West Indies at the start of December - for 42, 84 and 4 - and then it was back to domestic cricket for Auckland. He is averaging 44.5 in 15 test innings, including six 50s.

The pink ball test will be a fresh challenge. The New Zealand squad will have a preparatory camp in Tauranga shortly before the first test, and some of the batsmen are likely to play in a two-day day-night game against England at Seddon Park as well.

Raval, not having played a pink ball match, would seem a prime candidate for that.

"We saw in Adelaide [in the inaugural pink ball test in late 2015] the ball does swing around, and especially with the type of bowling attack England has got it's going to present a lot of challenges. But as a batter that's why you play international cricket," Raval said. "Any time you're batting in the middle in a pressure situation you get to put your processes and game plan under scrutiny."

As for today, Auckland have a chance to avenge the last occasion the teams met in a trophy final, in 2014-15, coincidentally also at Pukekura Park.

"It's a pretty good surface and I'm sure we'll see a high-scoring game," Raval added.