Globe-trotting Mark Stoneman has encountered extreme conditions en route from his maiden Ashes tour to join England again for the start of their two-Test series against New Zealand.
Stoneman and eight fellow specialists have arrived in Hamilton, where England will warm up for next week’s first Test with two two-day fixtures against a New Zealand XI.
There, he is once again working alongside his fellow opener Alastair Cook – and both batted in the nets on Monday morning against James Anderson, Stuart Broad et al.
As a forecast cyclone delayed its entrance long enough to permit an unexpected full practice, Stoneman did not have to battle the elements for once – having done so back in London as he stepped up preparations to resume his Test career.
The 30-year-old stayed on in Sydney initially, after England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat, with his Australian wife Serene and her family – before travelling home in the midst of the English winter.
Greeted there by the significant snowfall which brought parts of the country to a standstill, the Surrey left-hander was able to practise in grass nets under a tent – even as most of the Oval outfield was turning white.
“So it was a bit of a nightmare.
“(But) I had a good week back at Surrey on some grass surfaces in the tent at The Oval.”
In the intervening weeks, he has rationalised where he might have done better – but refuses to dwell on any past mistakes.
“I just took a bit of time out to take stock of things … have a good reflection of how things went,” he said.
“It gets to a point where you have to move on.
“The past is in the past. It was an unbelievable experience, and something I’ll never forget.
“I’d have loved it to go better than it did, but I’ve got some really fond memories of it.”
There was no hiding place at the top of the order in Australia against Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Stoneman added: “There were some good battles out in the middle, and at times I felt I was very close to doing some really good things.
“It just wasn’t to be, but I hope that is something I can put right in Test cricket out here in New Zealand.”