The fielding drills were flawless as usual and the intensity unmatched but what was missing was the regular banter and the egging on that makes watching New Zealand's fielding practice fun.
Television sets and the internet have been the companions for the New Zealand squad members since the news of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch broke 48 hours ago. Team physiotherapist Dayle Shackel and trainer Bryan Stronach have already left for New Zealand to be with their families after news came in that their houses were damaged, leaving the team without a proper support staff.
"It has been difficult, but I suppose we put it into perspective," Vettori said on Thursday. "It's nothing compared to what the people back home in Christchurch and all over New Zealand are going through. The whole country is hurting immensely and the team feels exactly the same way."
The tension was visible when the team arrived here for training. "For a lot of guys, I suppose coming to training has allowed them to take their minds off things," said Vettori, who also informed that local physiotherapist Sanil Koyili will be working with the team here.
"He joined us this morning and been great so far."
Looking for options
Stronach and Shackel are expected to be back in the first week of March. Their family members are fine.
The team management had also requested the BCCI for the services of New Zealander Paul Close, currently posted at the National Cricket Academy, but he was not available due to other commitments. The Australian support staff have promised to help whenever required.
The Kiwi players were determined to give their supporters a reason to smile on Friday. "It's a big game and it's also a Chappell-Hadlee game, which means a lot to people back home."