Cricket: 'Weary' Guptill agrees with decision to take a break from early part of tour

By David Leggat

After a conversation with coach Mike Hesson last month, Martin Guptill agreed to 'put the bat in the cupboard for a few weeks'. Photo / Getty Images
After a conversation with coach Mike Hesson last month, Martin Guptill agreed to 'put the bat in the cupboard for a few weeks'. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's player of the year, Martin Guptill, supported the decision to stand him down from the early part of the tour of Sri Lanka.

Both Guptill and seamer Doug Bracewell will join the tour for the two tests early next month, having missed the solitary T20 game in Pallekele on Tuesday night, and the five ODIs which follow that game.

New Zealand selection manager Kim Littlejohn backed the move, calling it "good player management".

The decision came out of a conversation between Guptill and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson during the world T20 championship in Sri Lanka last month.

The feeling was Guptill, who had been playing consistently since the start of the last domestic season, was looking weary.

"We've asked for him not to play the first Plunket Shield game for Auckland (against Central Districts starting on November 4), put the bat in the cupboard for a few weeks and refresh the mind and body and go again," Littlejohn said yesterday. It mirrors a break given to Brendon McCullum for the limited-overs leg of the ill-starred tour of the West Indies in July.

Littlejohn said at that time four players - McCullum, Guptill, Bracewell and Kane Williamson - had been identified as having playing levels which needed particularly careful monitoring.

Williamson has had time off since the world T20 in England.

"You always tend to look at the bowlers because of workloads and injuries," Littlejohn said.

"You forget about batsmen. Having to concentrate for long periods of time you can get quite jaded and run down. It's about good player management so they can perform at their best and we've been quite smart about how we do it.

"We're not trying to downgrade the importance of playing for New Zealand, but they can't keep the intensity up every day."

Sri Lanka are without key bowler Lasith Malinga and star batsman Mahela Jayawardene for the T20 match against New Zealand, while quirky spinner Ajantha Mendis, who had a fine world T20, is out of that game and the squad for the first three ODIs as he recovers from a side strain.

Allrounder Angelo Mathews has been promoted as T20 captain while the ODI squad has a familiar look, and shape as formidable opposition for a full strength NZ side, let alone one operating below full strength.

- NZ Herald

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