Follow the Investec Test series on ecb.co.uk – click here for all the latest news, exclusive interviews, video highlights and match reports
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson wants his side to play to their potential as they prepare for a two-match Test series against England later this month.
Hesson’s men came within one wicket of a series victory over England at Auckland in March but the Kiwi coach is aware they face a tougher proposition away from home.
New Zealand begin their preparations with two warm-up fixtures versus Derbyshire and England Lions, and Hesson is excited by the challenges that await his side.
“These are two hugely important Test matches for us,” he said.
“England’s record in England in recent times has been outstanding. It’s a tough place to tour and we know that we’ve got to be on the top of our game.”
“Playing in England is the pinnacle and the guys are very excited.
“These two Tests are going to be tough but we have got to stick to what we do well and what we did well in March in New Zealand.”
The tourists are initially without two of their key men, skipper Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor, who remain on Indian Premier League duty for another week.
McCullum and Taylor are due to arrive in time to face the Lions next week, with the Test opener at Lord’s from May 16.
While the late arrival of two of the team’s main performers and leaders could be perceived as a less than ideal way to start a tour, Hesson believes it could be a blessing in disguise.
“I’m actually quite happy with it because with a squad of 15 it’s quite hard to get everyone a game,” he said.
“Those guys, although they haven’t been playing a lot, they have been training a lot. To get our whole squad involved in those two warm-up games is critical for us.
“In previous tours we haven’t even had any warm-up matches so two is huge. There will be no complaints from us about being underdone.”
Keep tabs on the England team – click here for all the breaking news from the camp, exclusive interviews, match reports and much more