New Zealand news January 27, 2011

Martin Guptill cherishes new role

ESPNcricinfo staff

From being dropped for the ODI series in Bangladesh last October, Martin Guptill is now an integral part of the New Zealand team. He opened the innings in all three formats during the ongoing series against Pakistan and, in the last six months, has transitioned from being someone struggling to find a place in the team to a key cog in the set-up.

Guptill began 2010 with 189 against Bangladesh in the Hamilton Test. He made 91 against them in the third ODI in Christchurch but his form fell away after that knock. He scored only 85 runs in the five-match Chappell-Hadlee series and a solitary half-century in the two Tests that followed against Australia. His form slumped further in the tri-nation tournament in Sri Lanka, where he made just 11 runs from three games, which included two ducks. He was dropped for the tour of Bangladesh and was picked in the New Zealand A squad for their trip to Zimbabwe instead.

"It was extremely difficult," Guptill told NZPA. "You feel like everything is running against you, whether it be on or off the field. You beat yourself up inside, trying to get that confidence, and it just doesn't work. You've got to try and stay as confident as possible and hopefully the results come from that. I just went back and had a look at what I was doing well and what I wasn't, and just started doing the little things right."

Guptill had a steady tour of Zimbabwe with the A team and was recalled to the Test squad for the series in India after New Zealand lost the ODIs 4-0 to Bangladesh. He did not play the first Test but got a chance at No. 3 in the second in Hyderabad, where he made 85 in his comeback innings.

"The first week in India I started to get that confidence back," Guptill said. "I think it was after the second training before the first Test, I started seeing the ball well and hitting the ball well, and from there I went to the second Test and got that 85. From there I think I've been on quite a high and hopefully it goes well for another couple of years."

Guptill failed to impress in the third Test against India but made 70 in the second ODI in Jaipur. He was New Zealand's best batsman in the two-Test series against Pakistan at home that followed, making 163 runs at an average of 40.75. Guptill, who batted at No. 3 in the first Test, opened in the second in Wellington. New Zealand coach John Wright was impressed with Guptill's opening qualities and he has now been earmarked as a regular opener in the one-day series as well leading into the World Cup.

"It's what I'm comfortable with, so at the moment I'm happy with where I'm batting, but I'm also happy to bat at No 3. I don't find there's too much [difference]. I'll bat anywhere for New Zealand," he said.

The Guptill-Jesse Ryder combination that was tried in the first ODI against Pakistan in Wellington is likely to be New Zealand's preferred combination for the World Cup. They put on 84 runs off 60 balls.

"The guy's [Ryder] a fantastic talent and hopefully he stays fit over the next couple of years so he can put some big numbers up for New Zealand. I love batting with Jesse. We give each other a bit of stick out there and just try to make batting as fun as we can."

However, Guptill, who signed to play for Derbyshire, will open with Jamie How in the third ODI against Pakistan on Saturday as a result of New Zealand's rotation policy for the series. "It's not really disruptive, there's a good feeling in the camp at the moment. We're just looking forward to getting some good weather and getting on to the park for these last four games, which are vital for us going into the World Cup."

New Zealand lead the six-match series 1-0 after the second ODI in Queenstown was washed out on Wednesday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kris on January 28, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    @Elliiot Hornbrook, Astle still holds the fastest test match 200, a feat that even Sehwag hasn't been able to crack and he's tried! Hayden isn't even in the top ten

  • BJ on January 28, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    @Elliot Hornbrook check your stats mate Nathan Astle 200 vs england is still the fastest ever 200 by 15 runs next is Sehwags 200 vs SL was the most pure hitting you will see hitting the ball out of the stadium several times. This nz team is a good 1day unit and has enough young talet to be a top world class side in a few years

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    @Elliot Hornbrook Actually you are wrong Astle(153 balls) still holds the record for fastest test 200. Sehwag(168,182,194 Balls) has the next 3 fastest and Matthew Hayden isn't even in the top 10. If you are going to put people down at least get your facts right first.

  • Marc on January 28, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @ Elliot, Astle still holds the record, Hayden isn't even on the list.

  • Darren on January 28, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Ryder-Guptill does make for a good opening combo. Guptill plays more the anchor while Ryder blazes away, then a bit of stability before BMAC, ORAM and NATMAC blaze us towards three hundy.

    Long live the Guppy!!

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    @Elliot Hornbrook While it is true that Astles 200 was in chch vs eng. Matthew Hayden most certainly does not hold the fastest 200! In fact, he does not even feature in the top ten. Perhaps you are thinking of his 380 vs Zimb where his 300 came off 362 balls, but then was later ECLIPSED by Sehwags by 278 balls.

    Good stats mate!

  • Tanv on January 28, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    I am happy to see that the new opening combination of Ryder and Guptill works well, and Guptill has become good at taking the singles and maintaining a good strike-rate. McCullum keeping adds much more balance to the side, and now that he is keeping it is difficult for him to open the batting as well. But for him to have an 'impact' later on in the innings he should be batting 4 or 5, not 6 or 7. In the bowling department Tim Southee has really stepped up and he is much more consistent than he was 2 years ago. But I still feel that Mills is a better option with his experience instead of Bennet. I do hope to see NZ play better than everyone expects at this 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.

  • Brad on January 28, 2011, 4:13 GMT


  • Craig on January 28, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    As long as Tim Macintosh is nowhere to be seen... New Zealand will be competitive...

  • Richard on January 28, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    Elliot Hornbrook - maybe you check your stats. Astle's double century is the fastest. Hayden is not even on the page sounds like an aussie trying to take a kiwi record

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