Tony Veitch: The Guptill factor

By Tony Veitch

Black Caps batsmen Martin Guptill in action during the 4th ODI cricket match. Photo / Alan Gibson
Black Caps batsmen Martin Guptill in action during the 4th ODI cricket match. Photo / Alan Gibson

I have to eat my words. Before Martin Guptill's history-making innings in Hamilton, I was a tad underwhelmed by the combination of ODI cricket and a Black Caps team lacking the fun factor.

I miss the days when Brendon McCullum strode to the crease and you knew anything could happen. I also miss Corey Anderson going nuts occasionally.

He's like the Kiwis league team against the Kangaroos - one in every five times, he'll produce something special. I started to ponder if this New Zealand side was reverting back to type by grinding out their victories.

But Guptill filled my cricketing life with happiness again. Pure, brutal, majestic, take your pick - that was Martin Guptill on Wednesday night.

But the debate that followed continues to frustrate. There were calls for Guptill to bat at No 5 in the test team. It's a no brainer, some fans insisted.

Guptill says he just wants in, and would even bat at 11 if asked. But is he really a man for all forms of the game? His average would suggest no.

Can he become a McCullum and play with the same free spirit in the whites. I don't know. The selectors have tried to temper this debate fuelled by the media and fans, saying Guptill has to move ahead of others in the test pecking order.

For me, he still needs to prove he can play world-class spin in this format of the game, remembering the IPL franchises didn't exactly throw cash his way for the same reasons.

We all want to see the Guptill dressed in black be the same Guptill dressed in white. Let's wait and see if he's good enough.

- NZ Herald

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