Sixteen year old Miami ninth-grader Steven Taylor is a long way from his school books as he contemplates his contribution to the USA's ICC U19 Cricket World Cup campaign.
The youngest player in the USA side, Taylor is a left-hand top order batsman who says the cricketing experience in Christchurch is amazing. ?It?s very exciting to play in my first World Cup - for me it's a big dream come true."
Adjusting to local conditions has been a big part of preparation for the USA side, which seldom gets to play on grass.
"I've never played on a grass top before and it skids through more, so you have to be more alert with your batting. The new ball swings a lot too."
The USA side has also been getting assistance from New Zealand Cricket as part of a strategic partnership between the two cricket boards. Former New Zealand international spin bowler Dipak Patel recently took a training camp with the U19 squad in Miami, and has also worked with the side in its Christchurch warm-ups.
Taylor says the input from Patel has been tremendous, and believes there has been a massive improvement in his side's fielding and catching performances. "The biggest improvement has come in our fielding. Most of the time we drop our catches, but Dipak has showed us how to hold the ball and cushion it - that's really helped us."
Taylor says he's not sure if he will get the nod to play in his country's first tournament match against Australia, but would love to have a go at matching himself against a nation he has seen and read so much about.
"I always watched them play and saw how good they were - they always beat everybody. So I just want to know if I can play at that level."
As to his cricketing inspiration - West Indies legend Brian Lara has helped to motivate Taylor's long-term dream to go as far as possible in the game.