World Test Championship: Blackcaps train in soggy Southampton after finishing English quarantine stint

Fresh out of COVID-19 quarantine, the Blackcaps were like kids in a candy store, as they hit the training field at Southampton to prepare for next month's World Test Championship final.

After three days' isolation, the first group of Blackcaps have been allowed out of their hotel rooms - albeit into the stereotypically damp UK summer - taking part in fielding drills, before hitting the Ageas Bowl's indoor nets.

But while players wouldn't normally enjoy training in the wet, the Blackcaps are just stoked to be out and about, after their confinement.

"The boys are pretty stoked to get out of their rooms," says batsman Henry Nicholls. "It's only been three days... but [we] certainly enjoyed having a run around today. 

"Even though it's pretty cold and pretty wet, it's been good to get the boots on and feel like you're here for a bit of cricket.

"It's pretty greasy, not quite summer, but sometimes you do get those conditions. The boys are just pretty stoked, we'd have taken any conditions today."

The quarantine itself wasn't as bad as feared, Nicholls adds, with the Ageas Bowl's hotel at least allowing them to communicate with each other from a distance.

"We've actually been pretty lucky with the balconies facing out to the ground. A lot of guys just hang out there. 

"You can talk to each other across the way. We've certainly been pretty lucky with the facilities we've had here and made the three days not too bad."

With the first test against England to begin on June 7 at Lord's, the Blackcaps will soon head west to Somerset, where the 20-strong squad will play an intrasquad warm-up match against each other.

Tim Southee will lead one side, while Tom Latham will lead the second, as the Blackcaps squad face off against each other for spots in the test XI.

"It'll be nice to have a good internal game," says Nicholls. "We've got a pretty big squad of 20 players, it'll be a competitive hit-out.

"Similar to today, the boys will be pretty excited to get into facing a bit of bat and ball, and getting into the battle.

"[We'll have] a few trainings before that and then everyone will be looking to, not really impress, but actually have a knock. 

"Certainly for myself, it'll be nice to be batting in the middle and get back into those good routines."

The intrasquad warm-up match on May 25, before tests at Lord's on June 2 and Edgbaston on June 10, in preparation for the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton on June 18.

Join us for live updates of the World Test Championship between NZ and India from June 18.