January 18, 2016

Guptill's Jekyll-and-Hyde show

The New Zealand opener is an exceptional limited-overs batsman who flounders in Test cricket

Play 05:56

It isn't uncommon to see international batsmen master one format while struggling in the other. Martin Guptill of New Zealand is one such batsman. His performances in ODIs and T20s* have been exceptional, but in Test cricket Guptill has failed to make much of an impression, despite having had a reasonably long run.

  • His average of 28.28 is the fourth lowest among openers with 50-plus Test innings
  • He is only one of six openers in ODIs to score 1000-plus runs at an average of over 45 and and strike rate of over 85
  • Of his 19 Man-of-the-Match awards, only two have come in Test cricket

*The video was shot before the second T20 in Hamilton in which Guptill made 87 not out off 58 balls

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aaron on January 19, 2016, 9:30 GMT

    id like to know what his average is agent's each team only seems to score runs V the weaker attacks. Guptil was the only player in the top 7 of batting line ups for both teams in the oz test series who did not pass 30 and that was batting on very flat tracks

  • Fraser on January 19, 2016, 8:37 GMT

    He might slot into McCullum's spot nicely where he can play his natural game, i.e. aggressive shot making. Latham has cemented his place in the test team, maybe they continue with Rutherford or even try Watling, how has a good temperament for the opening position.

  • Beau on January 19, 2016, 5:51 GMT

    Numbers don't lie, but they often don't tell the full story, either. Like Williamson, Guptill never spent much time being protected down the order. Many other batsmen (Steve Smith and Joe Root, for example) benefit from this early protection, coming in against tired bowlers with an old ball instead of fresh, revved-up pacers with a brand new ball and pitch at their disposal. Unfortunately, NZ just doesn't have the players to offer new, young batsmen this opportunity. Guptill's average at number 5 in Test cricket is something like 70, but he only played a handful of matches there before putting his hand up to "take one for the team" and open the innings. It's also worth noting that an average of 30-odd from an opener would have had Kiwi fans weeping with gratitude a few short seasons ago.

  • John on January 19, 2016, 4:23 GMT

    Stats??? As if this is the ONLY thing that matters ... S Rajesh would be great as a business analyst ... sure it tells a story, but Guptill is obviously the man who fits into the team ethos and performs well enough to hold his spot in tests. Not sure why these "stats" things annoy me. I think because it is somewhat devoid of any "spirit" ... it only looks at one snapshot of a whole lot of qualities that make up a team man. E.G. M Clarke ... great stats but really didn't have this team man thing ... Its so much more than numbers. Another great example and an extreme one: One KP ... need i say more??

  • tezza on January 19, 2016, 3:50 GMT

    he just just approach tests withe the same aggression,a 40 ball 60 and out is more useful than a slow 20 an out,takes shine of ball,gets bowlers confidence down,lets face it not alot of our tests go 5 days anyway.

  • Jay on January 18, 2016, 23:35 GMT

    Some of the comments below are head-scratchingly odd. Guptill feasts on medium pacers? Sure, everyone rolls out the medium pacers just for him at the start of the innings? In ODI's he's the one facing up to the Starcs of this world in the first over. The mediums only come on after he's dealt with the openers.

    Clumsiest player of spin? If you watch the video you would see that he averages over 50 vs spin in ODI. If that's clumsy, i'll take it.

    Lacking in talent and natural flair? Guptill has as good a natural eye for the ball as anyone, there certainly is a lot of talent there. Talent isn't the problem.

    Anyone who follows NZ cricket knows the problem. Guptill has always been a confidence player, when he feels good, he plays well. He still hasn't gotten full confidence in test cricket. That's all it is. If the light goes on in his head he will improve dramatically. Opposing captains know this though, so they will make it as hard as possible for him to get comfortable in tests.

  • VAIBHAV on January 18, 2016, 20:27 GMT

    Same thing applies to Rohit Sharma as well . May be it is the mindset which is the problem , playing test cricket is not easy but their mind is making it more difficult . Both players have big appetite to score runs as both have scored 200 in a ODI .

  • Cliff on January 18, 2016, 20:01 GMT

    Opening in a test match against quality bowlers is harder you say? Well duh! It's fine for the armchair critics to think that there's something wrong with Guptill because he doesn't do as well at the highest level. I think this is how it should be - otherwise it's not really a higher level. It just makes you appreciate good performances as and when they come instead of expecting them all the time. It also gives you added perspective for the openers that did/do manage to dominate opening bowling attacks - like Hayden & Langer used to. Our players are people - not robots!

  • John on January 18, 2016, 19:45 GMT

    I'm not sure why a piece was required to point this out since it is blatantly obvious. I guess it is because he has been so hot in LOC for so long that he is just the most apparent current player to suffer from this white ball/red ball disparity. Frankly NZ doesn't have a better option right now to pair with Latham in tests anyway. I would like to believe he has enough job security that he might have license to just go for it as B Mac gave himself (albeit not against the new ball). He should try and channel his inner Sehwag. He was a complete bunny against the moving ball (in SA, NZ and ENG) but became a legend on roads and glue pots. If some grinder style opener in NZ FC cricket puts his hand up for selection I would still like to see Guptill in the side batting down the order. His fielding ability alone can save runs and make outs. Even if he does well opening against Oz it will be an attack absent Starc/Cummins so you would have to take that with a grain of salt. Go get'em Guppy!

  • Pradip on January 18, 2016, 9:04 GMT

    Outstanding player! Hopefully he will be successful in Test Cricket too.

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