Ross Taylor, who took temporary leave of absence from New Zealand cricket after losing the Test captaincy, is in the right frame of mind to return in style against England, according to the man who got his job.
Brendon McCullum took over the New Zealand side that lost two Tests heavily in Taylor's absence in South Africa, but which went on to pull off a surprise win in the subsequent ODI series.
Taylor's frosty relationship with the coach who replaced him, Mike Hesson, has been well chronicled, and led to prolonged soul-searching within New Zealand cricket, but McCullum insisted on the eve of a three-match Twenty20 series against England that his own rapport with Taylor was fine.
"There's not too much to discuss from our point of view - there was never really an issue between us," he said. "It was obviously an uncomfortable time for Ross and other people concerned. But as far as our relationship goes, we're fine. We're looking forward to getting out and playing some cricket together."
McCullum suggested that Taylor's reintegration into the New Zealand set-up had been a swift affair, that the player had returned "happy and smiling" and that Taylor and Hesson have patched up some sort of professional relationship ahead of the first T20 match in Hamilton.
"They seem to be working professionally together as well, and I'm sure over time everything will be healed," McCullum said. "Within the team, it's been dealt with really well. The inner sanctum of the group is working well together and it's a cohesive unit so far. We're comfortable where it sits. Everyone is fine. Ross has come back into the group, and fitted in seamlessly."
McCullum accepted that New Zealand do not have the resources to make light of disruption within their ranks. "We can't let any off-field issues have an impact," he said. ""We're not good enough as a team to allow these sorts of distractions."