New Zealand keep faith with Martin Guptill, but tour of India ‘really is an important Test series’ for struggling batsman
Martin Guptill has been retained in the 15-man squad named for the tour of India despite bringing scores of seven, eight and nought from the Test series defeat in South Africa.
‘Experience in subcontinent’
Selectors have long ignored the calls of media pundits to cast Guptill aside and again backed the batsman to blossom against the red ball in the subcontinent. “Guppy has experience in subcontinent conditions, and we still believe if he plays his natural game and transfers that white ball style across to Tests he can be a very successful Test match cricketer,” selector Gavin Larsen said yesterday.
Warning for batsman
But Larsen’s encouragement was tempered by an explicit warning that the batsman’s place remains on shaky ground. “He’s got three very big Tests in front of him,” he added. “The reality is this is a really important Test series for Martin. His numbers are down, but we do believe this is an environment in which Martin Guptill can prosper.”
Indifferent form in Tests
Averaging 29.59 in 44 Tests since his 2009 debut, Guptill has not been short of chances and clawed his way back into the team last year after a two-year absence. His continuing dominance in the shorter formats, meanwhile, has only exacerbated frustrations. His past 12 innings in ODIs has produced two hundreds and five fifties but the swashbuckling confidence has evaporated when facing the red ball.
No replacement opener
“For a period of time now, Martin’s brief from the coach, captain and the batting coach has been to play his natural game,” Larsen said. “That is the frustration for everyone, including Martin probably, he just hasn’t quite be able to nail that role or style down.” Yet Guptill has been afforded some room to save his career in India, with selectors declining to add a replacement opener.
Black Caps squad
Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
1st Test Sep 22-26 at Kanpur 2nd Test Sep 30-Oct 4 at Kolkata 3rd Test Oct 8-12 at Indore 1st ODI Oct 16 at Dharmasala 2nd ODI Oct 19 at Delhi 3rd ODI Oct 23 at Mohali 4th ODI Oct 26 at Ranchi 5th ODI Oct 29 at Visakhapatnam
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Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM