All set to play in a record seventh T20 World Cup in Australia later in the month, opener Martin Guptill has been a mainstay with the bat for the Blackcaps in T20Is.
The 35-year-old had been the leading run-getter in T20Is till India captain Rohit Sharma and talismanic batter Virat Kohli overtook him to claim first and second spots respectively on the list, pushing Guptill to number three.
But with the T20 World Cup coming up and New Zealand to host India for a white-ball series immediately after the showpiece event ends, Guptill, a veteran of 142 T20Is, isn’t too bothered about reclaiming the crown for the leading run-getter in T20Is.
“To be honest, it (being upstaged by Kohli and Rohit in leading T20I run-getters list) doesn’t really bother me too much. My primary focus is to contributing to wins for New Zealand. As long as I can do that, other things take care of themselves. As long as I am contributing to the team and able to score runs, I am happy with that,” said Guptill to IANS, in an interaction organised by Amazon Prime Video.
New Zealand will be entering the showpiece event as runners-up in the 2021 T20 World Cup, after being defeated by Australia in the final. As the Kane Williamson-led side are on the road to go one step further in 2022, Guptill is upbeat about the experienced Blackcaps bowling attack and feels senior pacer Tim Southee will be a key player.
“We have got a very world-class bowling line-up. We have got two cracking swing bowlers in Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who have been world-class and have shown that over a long period of time. We have also got pace of Lockie Ferguson, the flight and guile of Mitchell Santner apart from the all-rounders there in as well. But I think Tim Southee will be the one to watch out for.”
With India to play three T20Is in Wellington, Mount Maunganui and Napier, followed by ODIs in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch, Guptill feels excited about the white-ball series and stated that the hosts would do their homework well to combat the visitors’ bowling attack.
“It’s going to be exciting. We always love when India come here. We get much bigger crowds than us playing against other countries. It’s going to make for a great atmosphere and for some exciting cricket to play as well. We have got some time to get some footage there and do our scouting work and then come up with some strategies to combat their bowlers.”
Last month, New Zealand had sent its ‘A’ side to India for a tour of three four-day matches and as many one-day games. Though the side didn’t win any of the two series, the tour had thrown some performers like Mark Chapman, who is in the T20 World Cup squad, apart from Joe Carter, Michael Rippon and Jacob Duffy.
Guptill admitted to not knowing if the performers from A tour to India will be rewarded with spots in the white-ball series against India, but applauded the side for putting their best foot forward.
“That might be the one for the selectors. But they have played some good cricket over there. I think they got beaten in the last four-day game, which was unfortunate as they had played some pretty good cricket up until there apart from pushing for spots through the one-dayers as well.”
Guptill signed off by observing live streaming of New Zealand matches on Amazon Prime Video will spread the name of the players as well as of the side in the world.
“Streaming is becoming a lot more common these days instead of usual TV and sports channels. But I think it’s a great partnership (of live sports on streaming platforms) and will lead to a much greater profile for us as it will get ours’ and team’s name a lot more now these days.”Cricket fans can watch India tour of New Zealand exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from November 18 to 30.