This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Martin Guptill says cricket is too much of a cakewalk for him now, and has warned that unless the ICC makes the game harder, he will be forced to take drastic action to prevent boredom.
Guptill has made 499 in his last seven international innings, with six half-centuries, at an average of 99. He was also the top scorer in the HRV Cup.
In a series of angry tweets following his 78 not out against South Africa in the first Twenty20, Guptill bemoaned the ease with which he guided his team to a comfortable win, and called for "anti-me" laws, which would make the game more challenging for him.
Among his suggestions were rules that would deem him out if a spectator catches one of his sixes, claiming "it would at least force me to find the gaps in the stands every time I nonchalantly lift a good ball into the crowd", and a "six-and-out" rule, which would come into play when his mammoth hits, exceeding 125 metres, leave the stadium.
"Maybe I should also be forced to tow Jesse Ryder around when he gets injured, so that I might be slightly less of a catlike genius in the field," he said.
So frustrated had Guptill become with how good he has been at cricket recently that he toyed with the idea of playing left-handed, and reinventing himself as a fast bowler, just to make it a little tougher on himself.
"For crying out loud! I've already chopped three of my own toes off, how much more of a headstart do you need?"
New Zealand coach John Wright has backed Guptill's demands for player-specific law reform, saying cricket risks losing Guptill unless it can find a way of keeping him interested. He also revealed the lengths the New Zealand coaching staff already go to, in order to appease the batsman.
"I don't think people understand how difficult it is to keep him motivated, in the kind of form that he's in," Wright said. "We've had to come up with unorthodox disincentives, so I've told him that if he gets out in the nets, a member of his family will be kidnapped.
"It goes without saying, the hitmen I hired are still waiting for their first phone call."
Wright said he'd already threatened Guptill with having to go out on the town with Ryder if he failed to hit the stumps at fielding practice, and had even asked Tim Southee to put on his angry-boy routine during a characteristically awful spell in the hope that Guptill would cringe his way out of form.
"I mean, I had to leave him out of a Twenty20 for no reason recently, just because I wanted someone down the order to have to earn their ridiculous wages. It's been the only close game in the last three weeks."
Wright said the idea to create disincentives for Guptill was inspired by Barcelona football coach Pep Guardiola, who beheads a team-mate each time Lionel Messi goes scoreless in a match.
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