Will Young has driven six hours from Durham to Southampton to join the Black Caps as they prepare for their England tour and the world championship final against India next month.
The Central Districts batsman is fresh off back-to-back centuries opening in the county championship for Durham, as he puts pressure on for a place in the starting XI.
Young says he was ushered in the hotel's tradesman's entrance at the Ageas Bowl to avoid any Covid complications with other guests, and got a pleasant surprise upon arrival at his room.
"I've got a lovely view out my window of the Ageas Bowl and I stepped out onto my balcony and was greeted by everyone else. I've got Doug Bracewell next to me, Ajaz Patel on the other side and the rest of the boys are all sort of arced around," he said.
The majority of the Black Caps test contingent touched down in London on Monday NZT before being transferred to Southampton where they will be based for the first two weeks of the tour.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Caps are adhering to strict health protocols including pre-departure vaccinations and Covid tests, along with receiving medical bags equipped with masks and hand sanitizer.
While in England they will operate in a 'controlled team environment' to limit outside contact and risk of transmission. All tour members will complete a daily self-reported health screening as well as undergoing regular Covid testing.
The first three days will be spent in hotel room isolation, before mini training groups of six can be established from days 4-6, pending negative Covid results.
Young must undergo isolation at the Ageas Bowl before joining his teammates for training.
Opening the batting over the weekend, the 28-year-old scored 103 to help Durham secure a win over Worcestershire.
It was his second straight 100 for Durham – having scored 124 in their last game two weeks ago – with both coming in bowler-friendly conditions.
His ability to cope with the swinging Dukes ball, which will be used during the Black Caps' tour, will be particularly notable to New Zealand selectors.
"It's certainly a lot different than the Kookaburra ball and first class cricket at home, Young said ”It swings and nips around as you'd expect in April and May over in England. It's been a fantastic learning curve really.
Young will likely be in a battle with incumbent opener Tom Blundell and breakout star Devon Conway for the opening batting slot.