Kent v New Zealanders, Canterbury, 3rd day April 30, 2008

How happy with curtailed workout

No play was possible on the final day of New Zealand's three-day warm-up against Kent at Canterbury, after heavy overnight rain had left the outfield saturated

Jamie How: recorded a half-century between the showers© Getty Images
No play was possible on the final day of New Zealand's three-day warm-up against Kent at Canterbury, after heavy overnight rain had left the outfield saturated. Further drizzle in the morning was all that was needed for the umpires to abandon the fixture at 12.45pm, 15 minutes before lunch.

The situation left Jamie How, New Zealand's stand-in captain, frustrated but not unduly concerned about his team's brief opportunity for middle practice. How himself found some useful form with an unbeaten 53 in the 38.2 overs available on the second day, but with two four-day fixtures to come against Essex and England Lions, New Zealand have ample opportunity to prepare ahead of the first Test at Lord's on May 15.

"We expected a bit of rain so that's why the schedule is pretty jam-packed," said How. "We've got plenty of time left and we did get a little bit of a workout. It would have been nice to get a few more wickets, but we got something out of this match, and you can only do what you can do."

How was named as New Zealand's leader in the absence of Daniel Vettori because he was one of the few non-IPL players who could be guaranteed a place in the Test side, following his impressive efforts in last month's series. He made 92 at Hamilton, an innings that set up a famous New Zealand victory, and he was looking good again in this match as he notched his first half-century of the tour.

"I'm pretty happy with where I'm at," he said. "I didn't get that much chance out in the middle, but we've been working hard indoors. We've had a nice start here and at Arundel, and we'll be upping the ante a little against Essex, and building up to the first Test nicely."

How, however, doesn't know whether he will still be captain come the Essex fixture, which gets underway on Friday. The IPL players are starting to drift into the country, with Vettori due to arrive at 6am on Thursday morning. "I'm just taking things day by day," said How. "My efforts and concentration have been on these last couple of games. It's been a great honour and very enjoyable, apart from the two losses of the tosses. I'll always remember walking out there with the blazer on."

How will certainly have no qualms about welcoming the IPL contingent back into the bosom of the team. "We were expecting this situation and we talked about it a lot back home," he said. "Our young guys have had a nice little time to break into the tour, but it'll be great to have our best players back."

"It could seem as though there's a danger of a them-and-us situation," said How, "but this team is a tight unit, and the guys who've been away are a special type of team-first player. I know they are looking forward to coming and joining us, and sharing their Indian stories. As Kiwis we enjoy being the underdogs, but we are confident and will work hard, and come the first Test, we'll be up to speed."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo