Kane Williamson has urged his side to not get too far ahead of themselves, with a World Test Championship final just one month away.
The Blackcaps play India, beginning June 18 at Southampton’s Rose Bowl to crown the inaugural world champions.
But before that, New Zealand play England in a two-test series, starting June 2 at cricket’s spiritual home, Lord's.
Despite the obvious carrot of topping India to reign as the world’s best test match side, the Blackcaps skipper has defined the England series as an important momentum builder.
Williamson insists the initial focus needs to be on England and the rest will flow off that.
"The first challenge, which is the first test against a very, very strong side, is what we need to be focusing on and I know, as a group, that's what we'll be talking about," he says.
"But at the same time, we're playing three tests quite close together, so there is, at the back of your mind, an eye on that, which is a really exciting opportunity.
"I know the guys are really excited. Just being here to play test cricket is always a fantastic opportunity, but to play that third one, which is the World Test Championship final, is pretty special."
The 30-year-old only played a handful of Indian Premier League matches for his Sunrisers Hyderabad team, as he recovered from an elbow injury that sidelined him late during the New Zealand summer.
But despite a less-than-ideal lead-in to test match cricket, Williamson is confident he will be fit and hit the ground running against England in London.
"It’s improving, which is the main thing," Williamson says of his elbow complaint.
"Everything I’ve heard from the people that know a lot more about it than I do is that it is slow to progress and certainly slow to go away entirely.
"Just managing it will be the focus, so that’s something that, in this period of time, I’ve been looking to do.
"In an ideal world, you'd be wanting to train a little bit more, but we've got, I think, about 12 days or so of preparation here, before our first test."
Williamson will hope to regain his best form by the time his side heads to Southampton for the clash with India.
The batting maestro says the challenge of playing a team full of superstars on such a grand stage is as compelling a challenge as there is in cricket.
"It’s really, really exciting to be involved in the final. Obviously, to win it would be that much better."
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