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Cricket: Skipper fit to go but Guptill 50:50

Martin Guptill is a doubtful starter today after turning an ankle in training. Photo / Getty Images
Martin Guptill is a doubtful starter today after turning an ankle in training. Photo / Getty Images

A twisted ankle means opener Martin Guptill is a doubtful starter for today's deciding one-day international between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park.

An assessment will be made this morning at the team hotel. The Auckland-based Guptill stayed at home last night in a bid to rehabilitate.

New Zealand lead the series 1-0 after Thursday's second match was abandoned in Napier.

Guptill suffered the injury during a drill yesterday. The ankle was iced immediately but he took no further part in training.

"He's probably a 50:50 prospect," coach Mike Hesson said.

In contrast, Brendon McCullum declared himself fit for a recall. He got through training after a week pursuing his hobby of horse breeding and ownership at the Karaka yearling sales.

McCullum resumes the captaincy from Kane Williamson.

The skipper said had felt a release of pressure heading towards international retirement next month, after an Australian series in which he will become the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive tests from debut.

McCullum has played with regular injury niggles of late, but believed he was capable of enduring to retirement. He will play in the Indian Premier League, England T20 Blast and Caribbean Premier League in the aftermath.

McCullum is entered alongside Guptill as a marquee signing in the six-franchise CPL, played from the end of June to the start of August.

"You can steel yourself to operate while not 100 per cent fit by getting your head in the right frame of mind," McCullum said. "A competitive nature can overcome being stiff and sore."

Tom Latham is expected to open with McCullum if Guptill fails to pass muster.

Curiously, in 69 completed one-dayers at Eden Park, only six totals have surpassed 300.

The highest (340-5 by New Zealand chasing Australia's 336-4 in 2007) came before the ground dimensions and pitch angle changed in 2010.

The next best, 314, came in the 2014 New Zealand-India tie.

Colin Munro summed up the "eyes bigger than bats" syndrome after New Zealand's T20 win over Sri Lanka.

"Guys see those straight boundaries for the first time and look to go there rather than playing decent cricket shots. They try to overclub."

Hesson agreed: "History suggests sides look at what they think is a par score and add more. When sides first arrive here it can be good to field first because they go too hard too soon."

Pakistan had few problems in this month's T20, winning by 16 runs in a match which amassed a total of 326.

"The short boundaries can be a lure," McCullum said, after scoring 50 off 24 balls against Australia and 59 off 26 balls against South Africa in his last ODI appearances at the venue, during the World Cup.

"The boundaries are a bit larger square which makes you think different tactically. The smart play can be to avoid [being tempted by] the short boundary."

The New Zealand squad for the Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia was also named yesterday. The only personnel change is the return of Luke Ronchi for B-J Watling as wicketkeeper.

Doug Bracewell remains, as Mitchell McClenaghan recovers from surgery on his left eye socket on Friday.

Latham will drop out if McCullum and Guptill are declared fit.

Hesson confirmed Tim Southee's foot injury was tracking well. A Plunket Shield appearance is still scheduled for Northern Districts starting February 5.

The coach said a recovery timeframe was harder to put on Ross Taylor's side strain ahead of the first test against Australia.

"We're hopeful at this stage, but there's no guarantee."

- Herald on Sunday

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