Looking back at NZ's rise a test team under McCullum ever since the were bowled out for 45 in South Africa 2013 to be on the cusp of being world champions this year and also on the verge of beating Australia for the first time since 1985/86 in the upcoming two test series - my wind has wondered back the NZ team of the late 1990s/early 2000s.
Under Stephen Fleming that won in England 99, a famous draw in AUS 2001/02 and secured their only ICC tournament win in 2000 Champions Trophy.
I see a lot of similarities with the current NZ set-up to that lost team who were so ravaged by injuries at times it was cringe-worthy. Bond, Allot, Doull, Nash, O'Connor, Butler - talented bowlers who injuries killed their careers. So as a global cricket fan its kind of great to see the current crop of NZ fast men especially stay fit and full-fill their potential.
When I see Boult star these days one can only remember Allot & think what if. After his 1999 WC efforts he was set for greatness & in partnership with Bond that could have been a lethal new-ball duo in the early 2000s - just as good if not better than Boult/Southee.
O'Connor was also very impressive - never forget his spell vs AUS @ Hamilton 2000 - had so much to offer as bowler, certainly better than Neil Wagner.
Ian Butler also was a bit of tear-away when he debut vs ENG 2002, not fast as Milne but he definitely was 90mph, but so much injuries turned him into a medium pacer and he faded away.
Spinners Vettori/Wiseman whenever they were used together in the right conditions edge above Craig/Sodhi
Cairns/Oram as all-rounders was a sad case. Cairns we still saw enough of him to know his all-rounder worth - but injuries messed up Oram who i thought had a lot more to offer, especially after his 100 vs AUS @ Gabba 04.
So when i see the emergence of Anderson/Neesham the de ja vu is stark. Hopefully these two have longer test careers despite showing some concerning signs of the NZ injury bug.
Lastly McCullum, everyone rightfully praises his captaincy to the max, but Fleming was just as good & he IMO was the best tactical captain since 1990 after Mark Taylor. Thus if he could have had this team together he could have certainly built on what accomplished from 99-2001 & possibly NZ would have been the Australia glory era team biggest challengers. The S Africa team that was spanked in 6 unofficial world championship tests in 2001/02 was a unfortunate miss-match.