Given that he was accused by a cabal of English belligerents of being part of a conspiracy to murder test cricket, Karl Johnson could be forgiven for feeling a little bit anxious about what lies under his covers tonight.
The long-time Seddon Park curator is passionate about turf and would have taken the criticisms of the English press to heart after last season's bore draw that saw 1092 runs scored and just 22 wickets fall.
"The quality of cricket was blunted by pitches that were far too placid and hopefully the match referee's report on the second of them will reflect that," wrote former England captain Mike Atherton in the Times.
That was gentle admonishment compared to George Dobell of the sport's mega-site Cricinfo.
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"If we want this sport to be viable, and if you take out the travelling England supporters, there [are] a couple of dozen people here today," he said. "That is not sustainable and the reason it's not sustainable is New Zealand is creating these pitches and they'll kill test cricket."
That's quite a charge and one Johnson tacitly acknowledged on the eve of the first test.
"Last year the wicket wasn't as quick as I'd have liked," he said.
What the public will see when those layers are removed is a thick matting of rye grass; a not uncommon sight here but one which might cause a few West Indies batsman to bring up a little bit of their breakfast.
"We need that grass to give us some pace," said Johnson. "We're on the Patumahoe, which is traditionally quicker than the other side of the block."
Whether hard and fast, low and slow or somewhere in between, that thick grass will likely mean one thing: win the toss and bowl.