A calf injury has ruled New Zealand opener Martin Guptill out of the upcoming series against Pakistan. The right-handed batsman was a part of the T20I and the ODI squad.
The right-handed batsman suffered the injury while preparing for a first-class game with Auckland this week. Guptill is likely to remain on the sidelines for around four to six weeks.
New Zealand will take on Pakistan in UEA in a full-fledged series. The series consists off three T20Is, three ODIs and a couple of Tests.
Missing Guptill will be a huge blow for the Black Caps. The opening batsman has been one of the batting mainstays of the team for years now. He has consistently provided them with fast starts in T20Is and Tests. Earlier this year in February, Guptill had slammed a 49-ball ton against Australia.
Selector Gavin Larsen confirmed the news and said that the team-management was not willing to take any risk with such a busy summer ahead.
“Unfortunately for Martin it will take him some time to get over this injury,” Larsen said. “And, with a long summer ahead, we need to make sure we minimise the risk of him repeating it.”
Larsen and new coach Gary Stead will now have to find three players to add to the limited-overs squad. While Guptill’s injury has opened up an unwanted vacancy, the two other players will be picked up from New Zealand’s A squad that is currently in the UAE.
Guptill, meanwhile, will be looking to return to action during the home series against Sri Lanka beginning on January 3. He also said that he wants to play Test cricket again. Guptill has not played Test for the last couple of years.
“I had a pretty good winter, injury-less, and picked up a little tweak in the Caribbean and to come back and to be tracking well with that and to get a different injury is extremely frustrating and a bit gutting,” Guptill said.
“There’s a big summer ahead and I’ve got to get right for that. I’ve still got aspirations to play test cricket so playing out here for Auckland this week was going to be a step towards that. I’ve got to focus on the next part of my rehab and get back there fit and strong,” he added.
The upcoming tour will be Gary Stead’s first assignment as head coach of the New Zealand team since replacing Mike Hesson. Stead will be looking to make an early impact to show that he has the potential to replace Hesson. The former New Zealand coach had enjoyed a highly successful stint. His finest moment came in 2015 when he led the country to its first-ever World Cup final.
Under Hesson’s guidance, New Zealand rose to the pinnacle of T20I rankings, number 2 in ODIs and number 3 in Tests. In April this year, New Zealand won their first-ever Test series over England since 1999.