White Ferns bowling spearhead Lea Tahuhu is nearing a return to the national women's team, after overcoming a cancer scare in recent months.
The speedster has battled for fitness since February, when she injured a hamstring fielding in a one-day international against England at Christchurch, then overcame a cancer scare that started as a mole on her left foot.
Included in the current tour of England, Tahuhu missed this month's T20 series, as she resumed activity, but is ready to fire on all cylinders in the upcoming one-day series, starting Friday morning (NZ time).
"She's been absolutely chomping at the bit to get back in the starting XI, but the competition for places in this group has been exceptional and she's no different," says captain Sophie Devine.
"It's probably saying something about our group that one of the best bowlers in the world is pushing for her place in the starting XI.
"I'm really excited about it - she's trained very well and certainly kept us on our toes in the nets, which is great to see. If she gets the nod for the first match tomorrow, it will be an exciting time for us."
With a one-day World Cup scheduled for New Zealand next March/April, this tour forms an important part of the Ferns' build-up and they came close to snatching a surprise victory in the 20-over format, winning the second match. and falling four wickets short in the third and deciding clash.
Over recent seasons, the NZ women have struggled to get their top line-up on the park against the world's best teams - this campaign sees top-order batting stars Devine, Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite reunite for the first time since 2019.
But after a decade in the side, Tahuhu's absence has also been keenly felt and her return would undoubtedly bolster the bowling attack for the ODI series.
"Everyone's been speaking about the World Cup and we're no different," says Devine. "We're seeing this as a real pillar on the way to the World Cup and what better opportunity than to play the world champions in their own conditions.
"Hopefull, we'll really test ourselves, but also test the English and show them we'll be a force to be reckoned with."
England captured the title on home soil in 2017, when they beat India at Lord's.
The five-match series against New Zealand begins at Bristol and finishes at Canterbury on September 27 (NZ time).