Say it loud, say it clear and say it often, because you won't be believed unless you do: New Zealand rank number 1 in test cricket. This is almost beyond belief.
From being for decades the cricket world's easy-beats, the Black Caps have achieved what once seemed not just unlikely but utterly impossible.
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Consider New Zealand's history as a test-playing country. In the first 30 years, from 1929-30 to 1959, our teams won one test (versus the West Indies in 1956), lost 30 and drew 31. Some of the draws were "achieved" because in those days NZ played only three- and four-day tests. Australia, England and South Africa routinely played five-day matches, and, in some cases before World War II, "timeless" tests played to a finish.
Interestingly, when NZ toured England in 1949 they were offered four three-day or three four-day tests. They chose the shorter ones, taking the view that draws would be easier to achieve and they'd gain more credibility (and further invitations to tour) that way. Class players like Martin Donnelly, Bert Sutcliffe and John Reid led a strong side, but the short matches made winning difficult.
From 1959-60 to 1969, NZ won four tests, lost 17 and drew 15. Without doubt, they were the weakest test team of the seven then involved. They were improving, but they were still well below the standard of the others. Australia would not play a test against them.
The 1970s saw a 5-20 win-loss record, with 22 draws. Then, in the 1980s, they won 17, lost 15 and drew 26. Suddenly, they were something of a force.
In fact, in the middle of that decade they might have been the second-best test side in the world - vying with Pakistan for that position, though well behind the almost-invincible West Indies.
It helped that Australia and England were weakened by "rebel" tours to South Africa. It also helped that NZ had the peerless Richard Hadlee and the brilliant Martin Crowe, and in 1985-86 Jeremy Coney's team beat Australia in series both home and away.
The 1990s saw some slippage, with 14 test wins against 32 losses (and 31 draws). But then came recovery, 25 wins recorded against 23 defeats and 24 draws between 1999-2000 and 2009.
Then, from 2009-10 to 2019, the ledger read 32 wins, 30 losses and 21 draws. The last two seasons, up until the pulsating, nerve-wracking win over Pakistan at Mount Maunganui, have seen five test wins against three losses and just one drawn match.
New Zealand expects its All Blacks to top the rugby international rankings, and have for about 85 per cent of the time since the current rating system was introduced in 2003. There are no such expectations about the Black Caps.
Yet since the beginning of the summer of 2017-18, they have won 14 tests, lost five and drawn three. In their home fortresses they have won 11 and lost none in that time.
Of late, England, India, the West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been beaten in test series. Only Australia have been a consistent stumbling block, with seven tests lost since the last time their colours were lowered (at Hobart in 2011). India have, as always, been hard to top on their home turf, and South Africa have also caused problems both there and in NZ.
Why the great improvement since about the mid-1980s? To begin with, there has been much professionalisation of approach. In the early decades, NZ's best cricketers were basically Saturday afternoon players with very short Plunket Shield seasons, which for a time consisted of three three-day games.
There was nothing like the tough-as-teak competition of Australia's Sheffield Shield or the hard grind of England's months-long County Championship. But when Hadlee, Glenn Turner, John Wright and Martin Crowe started playing for English counties from the 1970s the professionalism rubbed off back home.
Modern coaching played a part too, with hard men like Australia's Steve Rixon demanding high standards and Mike Hesson changing thinking patterns.
And, of course, today's Black Caps are filled with talent. Kane Williamson rates high among the world's batsmen, as do Tom Latham and Ross Taylor. Pacemen Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, joined lately by Kyle Jamieson, have been outstanding, and the team routinely fields brilliantly.
And let's not forget that the Black Caps have reached the last two limited-overs World Cup finals. In 2019 they were deprived of the title in the cruellest of circumstances when the ball ricocheted off the bat of a diving, Kiwi-born England player (Ben Stokes) for a most fortuitous boundary at the death.
New Zealand, with a tiny population to draw upon, can be thoroughly proud of its cricketers. Now, they are even in the running for the final of the inaugural World Test Championship at Lord's in June.
• Chas Keys is an Australian-based New Zealander, a former academic and emergency management specialist and a keen cricket and rugby man