You expect many things in New Zealand, but Preity Zinta in her "lucky" red colour is not one of them. The Bollywood star and co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab said she was in New Zealand "as an Indian more than an IPL owner".
On a wet, grey afternoon, Zinta's presence provided just the warmth and colour that was needed.
She will attend an official reception on Thursday evening hosted by Prime Minister John Key on behalf of his government for the India and New Zealand teams, and for distinguished guests from both countries.
Zinta, who was out at the toss with the two captains, had a quick chat with Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan before spotting her IPL team captain Yuvraj Singh and ran over to give him one of her famous hugs.
Of her 36 films, "Yes of course I keep count," she squealed, three have been shot in New Zealand. Zinta freely admitted that her interest in cricket is new found. "To be honest, it was just before the IPL that I became interested in cricket. Now, I am a fan."
She was also hopeful that Brett Lee, who underwent surgery on his left ankle, would recover quickly. "He has just had an operation and (his manager) Neil (Maxwell) told us he should be ok by the time the IPL starts. Let's hope for the best."
An apple a day
Mark Greatbatch seems to have slimmed down a bit. Now 45, Greatbatch will be remembered as the portly left-handed batsman who was one of the earliest successful pinch-hitters in limited-overs cricket. He once played the part of WG Grace in a TV serial that never saw the light of day, has coached in New Zealand and West Indies and served as an advisor to the national selection panel back home.
Clearly, he's not averse to trying out different things. His latest job is with a company that exports apples from the Hawkes Bay area to India. They've already sold more than 100,000 cases with consignments landing in Mumbai and Chennai and then making their way around the country.
Even a confirmed fruit-hater like this correspondent could not resist taking a bite when Greatbatch arrived with a box of his produce. Believe me, they were sweet and juicy. So, the next time you're about to bite an apple, check if it has a sticker with Greatbatch's face on it.