Black Caps talisman Kane Williamson will finally return tomorrow, having passed his final Covid-19 test.
Williamson and his fellow Indian Premier League inmates will walk from their quarantine hotel in Christchurch into a cricketing summer expected to be filled with significant fan gratitude.
Simply playing the game in the wake of a pandemic will offer sporting nourishment.
However, the national captain must first defend a short-pitched question: Why are he and pace bowler Trent Boult absent from the three-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies? The opening game is on Friday at Auckland with the two remaining games in the pair's hometown of Tauranga.
Williamson and Boult were New Zealand highest-paid exponents at the IPL in the UAE, and arguably the country's best at adapting to conditions in the T20 format. Consternation among followers is understandable, given their skills won't feature.
Yet the move is also justifiable if New Zealand Cricket continues to prioritise tests as the ultimate form of the game. Wins in the series against the West Indies and Pakistan would put the Black Caps in a realistic position to qualify for the inaugural test championship final at Lord's next year.
Williamson has welcomed the chance to dedicate his preparation to the opening two tests in Hamilton and Wellington next month.
"That conversation started a while back with our thoughts about planning ahead.
"It's not missing a large volume of cricket and it's nice to change focus to the red ball because games are going to start coming thick and fast."
For fans fearing the end to Williamson's T20 international career, coach Gary Stead has guaranteed his captain will keep playing all formats.
"It may be that we manage the time he plays. It doesn't mean he has to play every game.
"I think it's actually unrealistic to expect that with modern day cricketers."
Williamson's re-entry to the longest form comes swathed in anticipation. He welcomes the pace bowling selection conundrum which he and Stead face ahead of the series opener on December 3 in Hamilton.
Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson will jostle for spots, depending on how or if all-rounder Daryl Mitchell and spinner Mitchell Santner are harnessed.
Jamieson's rise in the format, taking nine wickets at an average of 16.33 in his two tests against India last summer, has ruled out a Lockie Ferguson return for now.
Williamson says those performances were compelling.
"You want to see guys coming through and offering something to the team when opportunities arise. Someone like Kyle has done that extremely well."
On the batting front, Will Young's part of the 13-man test squad as he awaits a debut in any format. He has averaged 49.22 in the Plunket Shield since the start of the 2017-18 season. Newly-eligible Devon Conway's only part of the T20 international mix for now, but an elevation to test level beckons as the top run-scorer in the past two first-class competitions.
Williamson holds few fears for the pair's ability to adapt if they become his teammates.
"The depth and talent is perhaps as strong as it's ever been, and with Devon and Will [centrally] contracted and batting well, they've dominated [domestically] for a long period."