About this time last week the test summer ended, the only part of the summer that really counts for cricket purists.
A few chapters have been closed. Cricket will now move from Sky to Spark; Radio Sport, a station that was founded off the back of cricket commentary, will no longer call the game. A few chapters have opened too, including the start of the Kyle Jamieson era. Actually, nobody is calling it that… yet.
It was a perfectly symmetrical test summer: three wins, three losses and a draw. It feels about even too, with ostensibly excellent home series victories against England and India cancelled out by an epicfail.com of a tour to Australia.
That tour in particular, and the turnaround against India, has left questions ahead of New Zealand's next test outing against Bangladesh. Here are five of them.
1. What's eating Williamson?
Kane Williamson's test summer was insipid by his frighteningly high standards and even his unbeaten century on the world's flattest deck in Hamilton came with a year's worth of fortune.
No matter what the numbers were, Williamson's cricket didn't pass the eye test for many and questions were raised by those around the team, including commentators like Simon Doull and Brendon McCullum, as to whether the skipper was enjoying his cricket.
It is safe to say that at times he probably wasn't, but the chances are it was temporary.
The ODI World Cup and in particular its brutal denouement probably took more out of Williamson than anybody could anticipate.
The 29 year old has always been excellent at compartmentalising his cricket life. The way the World Cup ended saw him carry baggage away from a game for the first time in years. He was still talking about it weeks after the event, which people who know him well will say is extremely rare.
There was no soft lead-in to the test summer either, with the team that "beat" New Zealand in the final arriving for a marquee series before a quick turnaround to Australia.
Williamson looked a little scratchy against England but most batsmen would kill to be out of touch and add a fifty and an unbeaten century to your tally (though I suspect if he was to power rank his 100s, the most recent one would likely sit 20th or 21st out of 21).
Australia is famous for magnifying form issues and as captain you're under tremendous scrutiny. There have always been off-field elements of the captaincy that Williamson has failed to embrace and these struggles would have been thrown into sharp relief.
Add to that the well-fuelled rumours that Williamson and coach Gary Stead weren't viewing the intricacies of test cricket through the same lens and it was no surprise that when their game started drifting in Australia it then sank to the bottom pretty quickly.
When he fell to a duck off a dubious leg before in the second innings at the MCG, Williamson looked like he would rather be at the beach. Getting sick and missing the shambolic test in Sydney was likely a physical manifestation of how he was feeling mentally.
Fast forward to the India series and he looked far more engaged. He batted pleasantly enough on his way to a crucial 89 in the first test at Wellington, before failing twice in Christchurch on a wicket that swung the balance wildly in favour of seam bowling.
Williamson is approaching 30. He's played a lot of cricket. If New Zealand Cricket wants him playing to 35, which it surely does, his workload is going to have to be managed.
To go back to the original question: there's probably nothing eating Williamson that can't be fixed by a month or two without a Gray-Nicolls in sight.
2. Are they a better team than they were at the start of the season?
Probably not, but they are better selected. Quite why they felt the need to select a squad for the opening two series of the summer was never well explained but it ended up making life unnecessarily difficult for them.
As it turned out they made the trip across the Tasman with an opener who was desperately out of form and two spinners the skipper could neither rely on to take wickets nor plug up an end.
Obviously it was not the selectors' fault that their spearhead Trent Boult was either injured or ineffective, and that point-of-difference Lockie Ferguson broke down before he could make an impact, but there were avoidable mistakes that contributed to the worst New Zealand test series performance in living memory.
In contrast, it was impressive watching the seamers dismantle India but it has to be noted that conditions could not have been more in their favour and, aside from Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, the Indian batting lineup was nowhere near as vaunted as people like to make out.
The fact New Zealand used six overs of spin told the story of the series.
The quick bowlers ended the season looking machine-like, with Jamieson providing the fourth head of a devastating quadrumvirate. Often overlooked and out of luck, Colin de Grandhomme's bowling has never been better either.
They ended the summer, however, with three key batsmen in poorer shape than they started: Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling and Williamson.
It was a weird test season: you can't say the Black Caps treaded water; it was more that they thrashed away wildly but ended up in the same spot.
3. So, who is the country's No 1 long-form spinner?
It's easier to do this as a process of elimination.
It's not Mitchell Santner. That much was obvious even when he was getting picked. He only recently picked up his first four-wicket haul in the Plunket Shield, so he was always a cute pick that was based on his potential as a batsman as much as his mechanical bowling. His average of 45 and strike rate of a wicket every 16 overs meant he was essentially being used to wheel through some work to get to the second new ball quicker. His strength is white-ball cricket and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
It's not Todd Astle. Unlike Santner, he had a first-class record that at least merited a look at test level, but there was always the sense that he was seen as a last resort, rather than a genuine wicket-taking option against good players. He got a farewell test at the SCG, took three wickets at a tick over 50 each, and promptly retired from red-ball cricket.
It's not Ish Sodhi. The leggie has not been unable to translate potential to performance. In spin-bowling terms Sodhi, 27, is just a kid, but the concerns about his red-ball game remain: he struggles to take wickets with his stock ball, the leg spinner, and he serves up too many boundary balls. In limited overs cricket he has the protection, in test cricket, he's a pressure release for quality batsmen.
It's not Will Somerville. At 35 he's not a kid, but that's not the reason to discount him. From a great start on debut against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi, Somerville has worked to the laws of diminishing returns, culminating in an ordinary performance (1-135 across two innings) on his former home ground, the SCG, in January.
It's not Ajaz Patel. The 31-year-old left-armer has now been picked for three home tests and has taken… no wickets across 49 overs.
So by said process of elimination we are back at where we started. There is no spin bowler in New Zealand whose red-ball bona fides are compelling. Look at the pitches prepared for the Indian series and that might offer a clue as to why.
4. Is Tom Blundell the answer at opener?
For now he is the answer to a really tricky question, but his future surely lies at No 6 or 7 when BJ Watling retires. That might not be too far away, with Watling scoping a career in coaching.
Blundell has done everything asked from him at the top of the order but his technique projects as a wicketkeeper-batsman; punchier than Watling, but perhaps less pugnacious.
He's done a fine job at the top of the order but as his predecessor Jeet Raval can tell him, it doesn't take long for international new-ball attacks to home in on technical weaknesses. Blundell's susceptibility to the off cutter needs addressing.
What Blundell appears to have is a rock-solid temperament and the ability to counterpunch. That elevates him above Raval, who is known as the nicest man in cricket, but by the end of the England series he looked like a wounded gazelle being circled by lions.
Taking him to Australia made no sense and came with predictable consequences.
If Watling does retire imminently and Blundell slots into the middle order, who's next?
The next two batting cabs off the ranks look like Will Young – desperately unlucky not to have played for his country by now – and Wellington run machine Devon Conway, who qualifies next summer.
Auckland's Glenn Phillips jumped the queue to get a test in Sydney and used a number of lives to get a 50 on debut. He looks a more than useful depth piece but could probably use more first-class cricket to tighten up his red-ball game before he starts demanding inclusion.
Daryl Mitchell looked good at the crease against England, though it is unclear if he's considered an out-and-out batsman. If de Grandhomme is a bowling all-rounder who can score quick runs in the right conditions, Mitchell is definitely a batting all-rounder who can provide a few overs here and there.
5. What does the future look like?
There are multiple strands to this. For a start, there's the fact that the Black Caps will move to Spark, with a splash of TVNZ thrown in.
This is the easiest prediction to make: there'll be howls of outrage and over-reported confusion (remember the Rugby World Cup), before everybody gets a collective grip.
We also await an announcement on the radio rights after NZME, the owners of Radio Sport (and publishers of the Herald) stopped negotiating with NZC. The other major players who could realistically make a play – Mediaworks, Radio New Zealand and the TAB – have yet to go public with their interest.
Spark has a lot riding on this play. They've made big plays in the international rights market with the Rugby World Cup, Premier League and Formula One, but this is their first crack at streaming high-profile local sport over a long period.
They have yet to announce their talent, but take it as read that Brendon McCullum will be at front and centre.
As for the team, there is a case to make for new blood to be introduced as many of the stalwarts are now approaching their mid-30s – Taylor (36), Wagner (34 on Friday), Watling (34) and de Grandhomme (33) are all closer to the finish line than the start. While the replacements seem logical enough – Young/Conway, Jamieson, Blundell and Mitchell – it's probably time to think about how to phase them into test cricket.
The team and NZC in general, were chastened by the happenings in Australia. They knew it would be tough but had every right to feel they would at the very least be competitive. Hard questions were asked about selection and preparation.
It would be no surprise to see a third voice added to the selection table alongside Stead and Gavin Larsen.
The chances are they will still pay lip-service to the idea of genuine preparation in overseas conditions.