Ben Wheeler has been around the rectangular 22m by 3m wide prime real estate long enough to know how fickle cricket can be.
Wheeler knows only too well if it's not the invariable bounce, it can be the mix the coaches are looking for or the elements that can never be taken for granted.
But for the 28-year-old Central Districts Stag from Hastings it's how capricious his own constitution can be despite putting in the hard yards over winter to put his body through the spin-dry cycle in summer that draws a hollow laughter.
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"I was fit at the start of the season and then I tore my groin in the first [four-day Plunket Shield] game," says Wheeler before he makes a return from a flirtatious first-class outing straight into the Dream11 Super Smash cauldron for his defending champions side against the Northern Districts Knights at McLean Park, Napier, from 7pm, tomorrow. "It's very frustrating because I had a full pre-season and I was tracking really well so, yeah, it's annoying after all those back issues over time as well," says the former Black Caps seamer after the back injury also had kept him out just before Christmas last year.
However, the medical procedure had got the left-arm, medium/fast bowler back in the straight and narrow at the back-end of last season.
Four overs — when Stags captain Tom Bruce chucks him the ball in ideal 25C to 17C conditions tomorrow — will be a good way to ease back into the fold although Wheeler says the workload leading into the drawn shield opener against the Canterbury Kings in Nelson early last month.
"It's just one of those things where you over extend when you're going to bowl so when you're running in like that it doesn't take much to tweak a muscle somewhere."
The Blenheim-born cricketer says the T20 campaign, in all it's glitz and glamour, is exciting times and a great spectacle.
"It's only four overs so if I can get through with a bit of bowling it'll be back into the one-dayers and then the four-dayers to finish."
The Aldin Smith-mentored hosts are re-booting their PC engine from last summer's euphoria with a mind set of a clean slate amid countless variables.
Wheeler says "it's always a good wicket" at McLean Park for the televised match "and I wouldn't expect anything less", as they face the Knights who he considers to have been a force since T20 took hold of the domestic arena.
"It should be a good game and, hopefully, both teams will turn up and we'll be on the right side of the outcome," he says of the free-entry night for fans.
Needless to say, the work will be cut out for the bowlers with veteran swing merchant Seth Rance likely to share the new ball with Wheeler and test spinner Ajaz Patel messing with the line and length of the ND batsmen.
The 220 to 240 totals posted there in the past few T20 matches endorses his belief of what challenges batsmen pose for bowlers who dare to blink on short, square outfields.
"You have to be on top of your game as a bowler but, I guess, it's the same with the batters who still have to play good shots although you can normally trust the pitch is going to be good so you have to free [their arms for] them to play those shots," he says.
Wheeler does a bit of plumbing in his spare time.
The casualty ward foyer has been busy for the Stags — William Young, Doug Bracewell, Blair Tickner, Adam Milne and Bevan Small.
It's been "fairly slow going" for Black Caps-bound Young who has been in domestic cricket wilderness for six months since shoulder surgery.
"I've just been chipping away with the rehab and a few other things, such as massage, which keep you busy and is cool with some time at home," says the Taranaki top order batsman, who is based in Napier, in a pre-recorded interview with CD.
The 27-year-old reveals he's close to re-entering the elite competitive arena again with his bat although it's the throwing, catching and diving during fielding that play on his mind most.
"It's quite promising how the batting's coming on," he says, after a Hawke Cup outing with Taranaki last weekend. "As soon as the joint was structurally sound enough it actually reacted very well to the batting."
If anything, the experience has taught Young to be patient, albeit testing, as he watches the three formats unfold and wishing teammates well via social media platforms.
"It's cool to see the guys have a bit of success and, at the same time, some young guys come through to get an opportunity at this level, which hasn't always been the case for me in the recent years with the Stags."
However, Young considers it "all good stuff" and something that helps create an appetite for when a player walks out to measure their run up or ask for middle and leg.
The former CD and 2012 NZ U19 ICC World Cup captain is ironically coming out of surgery after having carved up two centuries for New Zealand XI against Australia in a one-day warm-up series of three unofficial ODIs in Brisbane in May this year.
But he doesn't believe the surgery hiatus has dented his confidence because muscle memory can always be recalled from the draft folder.
It came at a cruel time when he had got an NZ contract but couldn't repay the faith the national selectors had put in him and show he was comfortable to compete at that level.
Hawke's Bay spinner Jayden Lennox and Taranaki allrounder Ryan Watson will make their T20 debuts if picked.
The CD Hinds also begin their campaign at Lincoln, near Christchurch, against the five other major association teams with a flurry of three games in two days starting on Saturday.
• CD STAGS: Tom Bruce (c), Joshua Clarkson, Dane Cleaver (wk), Jayden Lennox, Christian Leopard, Willem Ludick, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Ajaz Patel, Seth Rance, Ryan Watson, Ben Wheeler, George Worker.
• ND KNIGHTS: Dean Brownlie (c), Peter Bocock, Joe Carter, Anton Devcich, Matt Fisher, Daniel Flynn, Brett Hampton, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Brett Randell, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Anurag Verma.