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Guptill assures New Zealand will not be taking 'well-acclimatised' Netherlands lightly

"The only way these Associate Nations are going to get better is by playing against the Full Member nations more often"

Martin Guptill is all smiles during practice, 1st T20I, India vs New Zealand, Jaipur, November 17, 2021

Martin Guptill - "There's been a lack of ODI cricket but once we get to the first one, we will be ready to go and reacquaint ourselves"  •  Getty Images

After a gap 25 years, New Zealand will face Netherlands in an ODI and eight years after last competing against them in international cricket, when the two teams clash in a one-off T20I and three ODIs in New Zealand, starting March 25.
The visitors are placed at the bottom of the ODI World Cup Super League table, but New Zealand's Martin Guptill doesn't want to "take them lightly" since a few of the Netherlands players have had the experience of playing in New Zealand in the past and are aware of the conditions.
"Geez, it was quite a while ago," Guptill said of the last meeting with the Netherlands. "I think it was years ago that we last played against the Netherlands. The last time we played in the [2014] T20 World Cup, it was a close game. We know a few guys from their side. [Logan] van Beek played for Wellington [Firebirds], Max O'Dowd played for Otago [Volts] and Fred Klaasen as well, he played club cricket here last year, and I was able to face a bit of them in the nets during the Super Smash last summer.
"We can't take them lightly. They have been here now, played a couple of warm-up games and are well acclimatised here. So, once we get a couple of training sessions under the belt, we will be able to get out and [we are] raring to go."
New Zealand are second from bottom in the table, but they have played only three ODIs so far in the Super League, and have won all three. Given the team's limited experience with ODIs following the 2019 World Cup - they have played a total of seven matches in the two-year period, where they won six and lost one - Guptill sees the home series as an opportunity to build to the 2023 World Cup.
"It's going to be funny because we have played like seven ODIs since the 2019 World Cup," he said. "It's definitely three years. So, there's been a little bit of a lack of ODI cricket but once we get to the first one, we will be ready to go and reacquaint ourselves with the one-day format and keep going."
Guptill also feels that it's a "massive" opportunity for the Netherlands to get a full tour against the No.1 ODI team. The likes of the Netherlands usually play against Full Members only in the World Cups as bilateral series outside of it are limited. However, the Super League guarantees 24 ODIs against eight Full Members, with half the fixtures at home and half away.
"The only way these Associate Nations are going to get better is by playing against the Full Member nations more often," Guptill said. "This is the start for the Netherlands and hopefully, they can continue on. You know, we get to play them during the winter and looking forward to both the series."
The hosts will be missing 12 players, including their regular captain Kane Williamson, who will be taking part in the IPL, which will commence on March 23. However, the spotlight will be on Ross Taylor with the series set to be his international swansong after he retired from Test cricket last December. Guptill, who has played with Taylor for more than a decade, is hopeful of finishing the tour on a high.
"It's going to be pretty sad for us, it's an emotional day. Hopefully, we can send him off with a good series and good night celebrating that."