Jamie How has admitted the nerves will rise as his BLACKCAPS Test debut grows closer.
The State Central Stags opener returned to the squad ahead of the first five-day game of the summer against the West Indies at Eden Park.
How hit a century in the Stags’ State Championship game at New Plymouth last week, having missed the final two National Bank One-Day Internationals.
His recall to the national team appears likely to have earned him a shot at the top of the order in a remodelled BLACKCAPS line-up.
He said: “I’m sure by Wednesday night or Thursday morning it’ll be really exciting. Obviously, I’ve been hoping for it since I was a little kid.
“It’s great to be back. Obviously I was disappointed not to play but it was good to get some time in the middle and face the red ball once again. I think I’ve been lucky to get some preparation.”
The 4-1 National Bank One-Day International series win put the BLACKCAPS in a strong position ahead of the Test series.
But the arrival of Brian Lara has increased the feel-good factor in the tourists’ ranks after their victory in the fifth and final ODI at Eden Park.
The performances of opening bowling duo Ian Bradshaw and Fidel Edwards was also potent enough to cause a few worries for BLACKCAPS fans.
How added: “Any team Lara joined would benefit and it’ll just be great to be playing on the same level as him, rubbing shoulders with those kind of guys.
“It was good to get a look at them earlier but I’m sure in the Test match environment they’ll take a step up.
“I’m sure they’ll be a big challenge on Thursday, or whenever we may go in.”
Rookies Peter Fulton and Jeetan Patel could also earn their first cap at Eden Park, on the 50th anniversary of the nation’s first Test triumph, fittingly against the same opposition.
For the tourists, Dwayne Bravo should be fit to return to full all-rounder duty after his side strain, and batsman Devon Smith and pace bowler Daren Powell join Lara in a revamped Windies squad.
BLACKCAPS (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Jamie How, Hamish Marshall, Peter Fulton, Nathan Astle, Scott Styris, Brendon McCullum, James Franklin, Kyle Mills, Daniel Vettori, Jeetan Patel, Shane Bond, Chris Martin.
West Indies (from): Shivnarine Chanderpaul (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Chris Gayle, Brian Lara, Daren Ganga, Runako Morton, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Ian Bradshaw, Rawl Lewis, Fidel Edwards, Daren Powell, Devon Smith.
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