Martin Guptill deserves his place among NZ’s greatest white-ball batters

Martin Guptill acknowledges the crowd after making an ODI century for New Zealand against Australia at the SCG in 2016.

Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Martin Guptill acknowledges the crowd after making an ODI century for New Zealand against Australia at the SCG in 2016.

ANALYSIS: Martin Guptill has not retired from international cricket – and given Finn Allen’s recent struggles, it feels premature to write his epitaph as a Black Cap.

But if the 36-year-old doesn’t play again for New Zealand after being granted a release from his contract on Wednesday, he’ll still easily sit among our top five men’s white-ball batters in history.

His cumulative collection of rapid runs across both formats gives him a decent case as NZ’s best bat in the limited-overs format, with competition from Ross Taylor, Martin Crowe, Kane Williamson, Stephen Fleming, Brendon McCullum and Nathan Astle.

Guptill has scored more Twenty20 international runs – 3531 at a strike-rate of 135.70 and an average of 31.81 – for the Black Caps than any other player, and it’s not even a close contest.

He is the third-highest ODI run-scorer for the New Zealand men’s team – 7346 runs at 41.73, with a strike-rate of 87.29 – behind just Ross Taylor and Stephen Fleming. The latter played 82 more games than Guptill, whose average was more than nine runs better.

It’s been almost 14 years since the Aucklander burst onto the international scene with a century on his ODI debut at Eden Park against the West Indies.

SPARK SPORT

New Zealand’s chance of leveling the T20 series versus India was ruined by the rain in Napier.

He remained the mainstay of the top order until he was omitted from the squad for the upcoming three games against India starting in Auckland on Friday.

He has played a string of memorable innings which marked him as one of the world’s leading practitioners against the new white ball, often as part of a fearsome partnership with McCullum.

He made back-to-back tons against England in mid-2013, with the second century being an imperious 189 not out from just 155 balls at Southampton against an attack featuring Jimmy Anderson, Chris Woakes and Graeme Swann.

At the time it was the fifth-highest ODI score by a men’s batter and the highest by a New Zealander.

“It’s not been the worst few days,” said Guptill, who has never been in danger of being accused of shameless self-promotion.

His 2015 World Cup quarterfinal double-century versus the West Indies captivated the country’s sports fans. Guptill crushed 11 sixes and 24 fours in making 237 not out from 163 balls – still the second-highest individual tally in all ODIs; coming after Marlon Samuels dropped him in the opening over.

Martin Guptill is congratulated by Ross Taylor during his double-century in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup quarterfinal between New Zealand and the West Indies in Wellington.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Martin Guptill is congratulated by Ross Taylor during his double-century in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup quarterfinal between New Zealand and the West Indies in Wellington.

Two years later, he made an astonishing unbeaten 180 from 138 deliveries against South Africa in Hamilton in 2017. New Zealand were chasing 280 for victory, Guptill was recovering from a hamstring injury and yet he smoked 11 sixes and 15 fours as the hosts romped home with six overs up their sleeves.

His best T20 innings among his 122 appearances was probably a 54-ball 105 versus Australia, featuring nine sixes and six fours in a remarkable boundary-fest game won by the visitors at Eden Park in 2018.

What will gall the clean-striking right-hander will be his relative failures in World Cup finals.

In the 2015 ODI final at the MCG after the first-over exit of opening partner McCullum, Guptill limped to 15 from 34 balls before being bowled by the off-spin of Glenn Maxwell.

Four years later, he could only manage 19 from 18 balls at Lord’s, and used up a review that could have later saved Ross Taylor from his dismissal.

The game finished with Guptill on his knees in despair after failing to get the two runs required for victory from the final ball of the Super Over against England’s Jofra Archer.

A crestfallen Martin Guptill gets support from England's Chris Woakes and Black Caps teammates Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham after the 2019 World Cup final at Lord's.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

A crestfallen Martin Guptill gets support from England’s Chris Woakes and Black Caps teammates Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham after the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s.

In last year’s T20 World Cup final in Dubai, he was again short of his fluent best in making 28 from 35 balls in a losing effort against Australia.

Among his white-ball exploits came Guptill’s inability to establish himself as a test regular.

His technique never fully allowed him to negate the swinging red ball during 47 tests – mostly as an opener, with a sometimes successful run in the middle-order.

Despite that, he still made 2586 test runs at 29.38, with three centuries and 17 50s over seven years in the whites – only 23 players have more test runs for New Zealand.

Guptill hasn’t given up on his chances of coming back into favor for next year’s ODI World Cup in India.

But if he has played his last game for his country, he’s left a record which will stand him among the greats for decades to come.

Leave a Comment