If the Black Caps cricket team's basketball skills mirror their cricket ones England will dominate tomorrow night's T20 international at Napier's McLean Park.
That was the verdict of Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust's Flaxmere Primary Schools Selection Group student Tia Mataira after her 11-strong group took on the Black Caps in a basketball game at the trust's EIT Institute of Sport and Health facility in Hastings this morning.
"They can't play basketball," Mataira joked.
But the 13-year Peterhead School Year 8 pupil who is a Hawke's Bay under-15 basketball and softball representative was thrilled by the Black Caps surprise visit to her group's weekly training session.
"We felt famous and it was good to get some pointers from them like the need to keep trying," point and shooting guard Mataira said.
Twelve-year-old Peterhead School Year 7 pupil Hawaikirangi Jackson also relished his time with the Black Caps.
A Hawke's Bay Ross Shield rugby team flanker, who was a member of the Hastings West team which won the Ross Shield and a Hawke's Bay under-14 touch representative, Jackson said the best tips he got from the Black Caps were the importance of keeping fit and completing stretches before and after matches to reduce the risk of injuries.
Long-serving Black Caps and Central Districts Stags player Ross Taylor admitted the Black Caps need more work on their basketball skills.
"I think there was more pressure on Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham today than there was in that World Cup final back in July," Taylor quipped.
One of the best batsmen to represent New Zealand, Taylor, 35, was impressed by the training facilities at the Mitre 10 Sports Park.
"It would have been amazing if I had access to facilities like these when I was growing up in Wairarapa. It's great that Black Caps teams and Central Districts sides can use them when we are in the Bay. Over the years I am sure we will see the benefits of them.
"There have always been good athletes come out of the Bay and I'm positive there will be more as a result of the influence of these facilities," Taylor said.
Looking ahead to tomorrow night's clash, Taylor said McLean Park has always been one of his favourite grounds.
"I made my New Zealand debut at McLean Park in 2006. I always enjoy my time here in the Bay. I know I've only got a few games left at the venue so I intend to make the most of it against England."
Taylor agreed there was a bit of competition between him and Hawke's Bay-raised quick bowler Blair Tickner as far as the home crowd favourite was concerned.
"I think Blair is the only one who will get more free tickets for family members than me," Taylor joked.
He was impressed with Tickner's contribution of 2-25 from his four overs in the Black Caps 14-run win against England in Nelson on Tuesday.
"When Ticks got Tom Banton out in the first over that set the tone for our bowling performance," Taylor said.
"Ticks only negative is the price of his coffee. It's very expensive ... he needs to have a look at his profit margins," Taylor quipped referring to Tickner's other job of running the 13th Stag Cafe.
A product of Greenmeadows Primary School and a Central Hawke's Bay club player, Tickner, 26, won't find out until tonight if he will be playing tomorrow night but he is hoping he will have an opportunity to play on his home ground.
"I love playing for the Stags on McLean Park and it would be a special moment to play for New Zealand in front of family and friends there. It will be exciting if Ross and I can play alongside each other too," Tickner said.
And his take on the basketball game?
"Our form wasn't very good. I've got the height but I need to work on my shooting."
Marcus Agnew, who leads community partnerships for the trust, said it was an awesome day for all involved.
"It's great to be at a point where we have teams like the Black Caps wanting to access our sport performance centre. With all the partners we work with, we are in a unique position to connect groups that would otherwise never intersect, and it was a great surprise for our Flaxmere kids this morning.
"To have our Flaxmere Primary Schools Selection here at the same time is brilliant, training alongside the Black Caps, all under the same roof, this is exactly what Sir Graeme's [Avery] vision is about."
Peterhead School principal Martin Genet was just as delighted.
"We definitely see the impact high performing role models can have on our community, inspiring the youngsters into positive pathways, and the belief that they can be anything too."
"The programmes we run with the trust were inspired by Matt O'Dowda, school principal at Kimi Ora, and supported by Trust House."
The group was selected from 60 youngsters involved with the Sport and Life Academy.
"They are involved with a programme that uses sport as a vehicle to promote health and performance, as well as work-ethic, resilience, communication and all the personal skills needed to succeed in life."