Fit-again Trent Boult is "very excited" at the prospect of bowling to Virat Kohli in the two-Test series starting Friday, and has already set the India captain's wicket as his prime target as New Zealand look to bounce back after a 3-0 series defeat in Australia late last year.
Boult is back after suffering a broken hand during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, and is set to be reunited with Tim Southee and Neil Wagner to spearhead the pace attack in the Tests in Wellington and Christchurch.
"I'm very excited to bowl to Virat again," Boult said. "He's an exceptional player. Everyone knows how great he is. That is personally why I play the game, to get guys like that out and test myself against them, so I can't wait to get stuck in."
"I suppose breaking a hand, you don't really know how much you use it until it's broken. Everything has gone well but catching would be the biggest issue for me at the moment" Trent Boult
Boult had missed the first Test of the Australia series in Perth because of a side injury but had recovered in time to play in Melbourne. But he fractured his hand while batting at the MCG and was ruled out of the rest of the tour as well as the limited-overs leg of India's tour.
"I suppose breaking a hand, you don't really know how much you use it until it's broken," he said. "Everything has gone well but catching would be the biggest issue for me at the moment. I'm 100% fit and hungry.
"It's been nice just to be able to bowl. I had some time away from the game and having my second son a couple of weeks ago, it actually came at quite a good time, but I'm hungry to be here and can't wait to get back in the whites and get the red ball moving around."
While fast bowlers, especially with the new ball, will be key at Basin Reserve, of late the surface has tended to dry out quickly and tilt in favour of the batsmen. And considering they are facing the No. 1 Test side, Boult is expecting an even contest despite New Zealand's home advantage.
"I'm preparing for a solid wicket. It generally is very good here and goes the full distance (five days)," Boult said. "I do enjoy playing here, the history that's involved, and it's going to be an exciting week building up. I can't wait to get out there.
"They [India] are a great side and they are leading the ICC Test Championship. They are very clear on how they wanted to play the game. It was a tough learning curve in Australia but it's going to be good place to see where we are in terms of bouncing back from the defeat in Australia."