Times certainly don't change as drastically as they have for England and New Zealand since they last met. Whereas England have endured quite a tough period - both on and off the field - New Zealand's has been a dream run, thanks to Brendon McCullum - whose leadership has been the root cause for an unprecedented rise as this. With the two sides set to meet at the Lord's Cricket Ground in what is to be the opening test of a long summer for Alastair Cook and co.; it would be about restoring their ranks for one, and proving a point for another.
If England were half as bad as people have assumed them to be, they'd still be able to put up a decent fight against any team in the world - particularly at home - such is the potential in this team. From top to bottom, there's class written all over it and no matter what people say, it still doesn't change the truth about this squad anyway. More than anything, it is the lack of mental strength and the ability to kill games that has hurt England. They have the ability, but haven't played up to it, in which case, it's Alastair Cook - the Captain - who has to step up.
It won't be as easy for Cook by any means as it was back in 2013. It's a totally different New Zealand team in terms of character, and to overcome them, especially at current form, is very difficult. They have one of the best new-ball pairs in Trent Boult and Tim Southee, and in addition, a batting line-up that has Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Hamish Rutherford, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson like names. To beat them, England have to be at the top of their game.
Line-up: Adam Lyth is an obvious selection to open alongside Alastair Cook, so shoud be Mark Wood instead of Ben Stokes so as to add variety to the bowling attack. If England want to avoid shooting themselves in the foot, Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan mustn't be picked to play alongside.
Predicted XI: Alastair Cook (C), Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (WK), Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, James Anderson, Stuart Broad.
New Zealand are more about aggression and hunger rather than class and discipline. Everything they do on the field is done with an arrogant swagger, and that makes them sit right on top of their opponents. They have passed all kinds of tests in the shorter versions of the game, and it's time they do that in the longest version. The Kiwis are yet to prove themselves as a world-class test team, and there couldn't be a better place than England to make that happen, where, no matter what form are the Englishmen in, you are always in with a tough job on your hands.
To start off with, New Zealand have to somehow keep James Anderson quiet, something that not many have been able to do in England for as long as all of us can remember. Tackle Anderson, and you have Stuart Broad - whose terrifying spell of 7/44 against the Black Caps at Lord's two years ago is still alive in their memories. Coming over to the batting, Alastair Cook is looking more and more like gaining his form back, while Gary Ballance and Joe Root have more often that not being the real problem for bowlers. Surely, the visitors have to hit the ground running.
Line-up: Martin Guptill is all but certain to return as an opener to the team while Hamish Rutherford is more likely to partner him as an opener. Matt Henry could be set to make his debut in whites following impressive performances against Somerset and Worcestershire in the warm-up games, with the rest of the team being pretty much as expected.
Predicted XI: Hamish Rutherford, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (C), Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Bradley-John Watling (WK), Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry.