Former Black Cap Kyle Mills dropped by three Whangarei schools in the lead-up to next month's ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
The medium-pacer went to Whangarei Intermediate, Kamo Intermediate and St. Francis Xavier Primary School to talk to students about the upcoming tournament and run some quick activities.
Mills said getting involved at schools is something he loves doing.
"We've been to Tauranga and now here in the north. It's really cool to connect with the grassroots level in New Zealand," he said.
"They're big fans of the game of cricket. You can see that when you're playing games with them."
Mills handed out drink bottles and foam balls to students for correct answers to cricketing questions before testing their catching abilities in a few games.
Cobham Oval will host six games at the World Cup from January 13-20, hosting Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Ireland. This follows an ODI between Black Caps and West Indies in what is shaping to be a bumper summer of cricket in Northland.
"Hopefully, the fans in Northland come out and support the cricket at Cobham. It's a lovely time of year for it," he said.
Mills has some history with Whangarei, playing matches at both the old and new Cobham Oval including an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2012.
He picked up two for 27 from his eight overs as the Black Caps picked up a 141-run win.
The former Auckland bowler said it was hard to judge how teams will perform but there will be plenty of eyes on the players.
"It's hard to know which teams will be strong because most countries are untapped on this stage at that age. There'll be some great cricket played, hopefully the New Zealand boys will come through and get some good results," he said.
"A lot of New Zealanders don't have a real appreciation of how much of a following the game has globally. There are millions and millions of people around the world who will be glued to the action.
"Particularly with India playing in the tournament, there are a billion fans there that will be watching everything. It's going to be massive."