England may secretly spare a thought for their embattled hosts as they fine-tune preparations for the first of three matches in each format against New Zealand.
It was only last summer that they had to take the field overshadowed by intrigue and aggravation surrounding Kevin Pietersen’s uncertain international future, against South Africa for the Lord’s Test and then for the defence of their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka.
Pietersen is now playing a leading role for England once again and it is New Zealand who are grappling with their own variant of a Pietersen-style controversy.
Former captain Ross Taylor took his first tentative steps back into the fold in the Eden Park nets, having been picked to face England in both limited-overs formats.
The 28-year-old’s return follows his decision to sit out New Zealand’s tour of South Africa, after coach Mike Hesson said he no longer wanted him as captain.
Taylor yesterday had to spend several minutes after practice insisting to the New Zealand media that he and Hesson are back on an even keel.
For Eoin Morgan, his near opposite number in the England team, a breakdown of relations such as Hesson and Taylor’s is unthinkable.
“I think I’d find it difficult if I didn’t get along with the coach,” said the Irishman.
“You spend a lot of time with each other, and your coach is normally someone you seek advice from.
“For me, it would be crucial to get along with my coach.”
Fortunately for Morgan, life is currently following a happier and simpler path.
He would like to have fared better with the bat during England’s 3-2 one-day international defeat in India last month; ideally, he would also have preferred a second successive victory over a New Zealand XI, rather than the narrow defeat the tourists suffered in Whangarei in their final warm-up match yesterday.
On the other hand, Morgan’s last three Twenty20 innings for his country have brought him scores of 49, 48 and 51 - without being dismissed - in his specialist middle-order position. He is feeling so at home there, in fact, as to lay public claim to a degree of longevity.
“I’m quite happy where I am. The role I play I think I’ve done really well since I’ve come into the team.
“From here onwards, that’s the position I think I’ve sort of made my own and can win games for England batting there.”