Even before the series against India began, New Zealand made it clear that the experience of Kyle Mills would be required only on slow surfaces, chiefly in Hamilton. The senior fast bowler sat out in Napier and Auckland, but at Seddon Park he showed he still had plenty of guile left. In the fourth ODI, Mills' opening spell was 6-2-15-1. And off the 100 runs India took off the last 10 overs, Mills gave away 27 in his four.
Despite that performance, Mills does not have a guaranteed place in the XI, something he attributes to the depth in the New Zealand attack. "Pretty tough group. All my time, I have never experienced the bowling depth we have got at the moment," Mills said. "It's definitely exciting for New Zealand cricket, 12 months out from the World Cup.
"I have to contribute to the team as much as I can, whether it is opening the bowling or bowling first change. I guess my style is to keep things quiet and build pressure, and hopefully we can take wickets at the other end. I have been reasonably happy with my form over the last few years."
Mills said his vast experience and detailed plans for the India batsmen have helped him do the job when he was picked. "I guess I have got the luxury of being around for a while. I have got old legs, but that brings with it a little bit of experience. I called on all my experience of being in those situations before. I have done a lot of research on the Indian batting order and their lower order as well. I try to stick to my plans, and be confident of my plans. If it doesn't come off, then so be it, I will go to plan B.
"We have a really good understanding of home conditions, which always helps. We have had very specific plans against their top order. We used the short balls quite a lot, and that has definitely paid off for us this series."
The one-day game has changed considerably since Mills debuted for New Zealand in 2001. Two new balls and four deep fielders have made it even tougher for bowlers. Mills said it was interesting to develop plans to adapt to the changes and also observe and assist others in doing so. "Mentally I think I am still adjusting," Mills said. "It's a pretty tough environment, being a bowler in the international one-day game at the moment because the wickets are so flat, and the boundaries are obviously short. With the two balls, it means the ball stays harder throughout the whole 50 overs, but as a bowler you have to come up with more ways to get better, really.
"I think all bowling groups around the world are doing that. They are trying funky fields, they are creating new deliveries to try and nullify the attack of the batsmen. So as a cricketing fan myself, I enjoy watching cricket to see what plans other bowlers around the world have come up with to try and counteract those last 15 overs. I am trying a few plans myself, and so far they are working but I am always trying to develop my own personal game and also helping our bowling group in developing plans as well."