Bring on the Australians, because this New Zealand cricket side can do the almost impossible by winning a test series across the Tasman.
The looming World Cup is dominating the cricket landscape and there is an avalanche of one day games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to get through before a highly fancied New Zealand side attempts to snare the world crown. There is something just as fascinating, and maybe even more so, on the horizon though.
The end of year tour involving three tests in Australia, starting just after the Rugby World Cup, can be elevated to rank alongside the most anticipated contests of 2015 - a massive sporting year anyway - thanks to the surge in New Zealand's fortunes under Brendon McCullum's captaincy and nicely understated coaching of Mike Hesson.
There is a swagger to this New Zealand side and rightly so, because they've got a fantastic new ball attack, dangerously good batting, and even a promising opener in Tom Latham. They lack a proven attacking spinner and another opener to match Latham's prospects, but no team is perfect. It is very difficult to win away from home in world cricket - the see-saw fortunes of India and Australia are an example of that.
At full strength, this New Zealand side is good enough to win in Australia. Hopefully this optimism survives the mid-year tour of England to help set up a classic transtasman battle.
Nothing wrong with a bit of fizz
The bite is back in test cricket thanks to the usual suspects, hallelujah.
McCullum's batting assault on the Sir Lankan bowlers looks tame compared to what has been going on in Australia, where the most ferocious contest in cricket has been tweaked upwards by the appointment of Virat Kohli as the Indian captain.
Any idea that the Phillip Hughes tragedy might confuse cricket's most vitriolic combatants has been well and truly dismissed. Led by Kohli, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and David Warner, the Australia-India series has delivered another gobful of tasty treats on the field and in the press conference room. There are guns in those teams that were never going to lay silent.
Cricket is the be all and end all to these countries and India's sliding test fortunes, in marked contrast to the political power they wield, has seen captain MS Dhoni retire from tests having just returned from injury.
New Zealand's impressive victory over Sri Lanka in Christchurch, which owed an overwhelming amount to McCullum's whirling bat, was achieved without similar drama-slash-antagonism and fair enough, but it doesn't have to be that way and rarely is when India and Australia are involved. And is that really a bad thing? As much as the famous bodyline series was regarded as a load of bouncers too far, especially by the Australians, it holds a monumental place in cricket history that has hardly damaged the game, far from it. The legend of the Ashes was not built on bonhomie.
Not everything is fair play: Johnson's alleged attempt to run out Kohli that hit the retreating batsman did cross a line - it was a cheap shot that is easy to defend as a legitimate, but only a fool would be fooled by it. As for the verbal sparring - that intensity is what fantastic international sport is all about.
The jawing is not for every player, and nobody would want that. This not-so-jovial jousting reflects the make-up of certain players, and in the heat of battle Warner and co are almost certain to wield the wisecracks.
Yes, cricket sledging has gone over the top at times, and needs to pull back from the type of "break your arm" threat that the Australian captain Michael Clarke once delivered. But for all the tut-tutting that surrounded sportsmen like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Roy Keane, they are as fascinating as they are reviled and their behaviour often reveals the traits that made them so great.
Put a muzzle on Pup
Gripe of the week. The presence of injured captain Michael Clarke degrades the TV cricket commentary team in Australia. Commentators need distance from their subjects minus the sort of pap that Pup delivers.
Oche, oche, oche ... joy, joy joy
The surprise hit of any summer is the world darts championship from London's Alexandra Palace - affectionately known as Ally Pally - where an assortment of odd-shaped athletes turn the crowd into a frenzy. Minimal movement for maximum audience effect is the deal. Put it this way: Phil Taylor can sure fill a hall. The next stops for Taylor and his English mate Adrian Lewis are tournaments in Invercargill and Wellington, believe it or not. But wait, there is more: Auckland has a strong chance of experiencing this weird sports phenomenon with plans to hold a leg of the world series here in August. Can't wait.
Vicelich deserves plaudits
When it rains it pours. Ivan Vicelich has spent a long football career minus his full dues considering the huge contribution to the domestic game and All Whites, but at 38 he is getting bombarded with awards. It started quietly with the in-house Friends of Football honour, gathered pace with the bronze ball from the Fifa club World Cup, hit high speed thanks to Auckland City team and individual Halberg nominations, and has gone into overdrive via a New Year gong. What a fabulous finale to a great Kiwi sports career.