Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has revealed his admiration for New Zealand who will begin a four-day game against the county at New Road tmorrow.
Rhodes and the county have good links with the Black Caps and the two sides met in a T20 match in Abu Dhabi 14 months ago as part of the build up to the ICC T20 in Bangladesh.
New Zealand duo Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan then went onto play for Worcestershire last summer and the former is to return this summer for the NatWest T20 Blast.
Rhodes said: "I was really impressed with New Zealand in the winter. They are a class side. I think some of their cricketers are terrific.
"We've got reasonably good links with New Zealand, Colin Munro and Mitchell McCleneghan last year and Mike Hesson the coach.
"They are a good bunch. We met them in Abu Dhabi when they gave us a drubbing!
"But we had a drink with them afterwards and they passed on some words of advice to our lads and we were grateful for it.
"They were a good bunch of guys but some very talented cricketers."
Skipper Daryl Mitchell echoed Rhodes' sentiments and said: "They are a top side now. They have pretty much got most bases covered.
"They have got a very good seam attack, your likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and it will be a good challenge facing some of their guys.
"The batting, Martin Guptill looks to be in pretty good form early season with Derbyshire and Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, they are all top class cricketers.
"It will be good to test ourselves against them and am looking forward to it.
"It was good to spend a little bit of time with them in the same hotel when we were on our pre-season tour last year.
"We got to pick their brains a little bit and you can only learn from your McCullums and people like that.
"It was great to chat to them and I'm sure the lads will spend a bit of time over the next four days trying to pick the brains of international cricketers which can only be good."