Kane Williamson, the captain of New Zealand, has acknowledged that the team will be without Martin Guptill because he declined a central contract and was released by NZC. The 36-year-old opener is the latest in a growing number of New Zealand players who are interested in pursuing career opportunities elsewhere. Due to the proliferation of franchise cricket, there is now a T20 league for nearly every month of the year, making the package appealing to many cricketers. Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, and James Neesham have all chosen to work in that field, leaving New Zealand with a bit of a balancing act.
“Obviously, he has made a decision to explore a few other options. But as a player and as an experienced member of the group, he has added so much value over the years and been one of our best white-ball players ever.”Williamson said,
Guptill has contributed significantly to New Zealand’s success with over 10,000 white-ball runs, but it appears that they have moved on from him. He was dropped from the team for the ongoing India series and didn’t play in any of their games at the T20 World Cup.
“Without getting a playing opportunity, he was outstanding and offered to all the players in the group. So, he’s been fantastic in so many areas of the environment. Absolutely, he will be missed, but like I say he’s not retired. So there’s a lot to keep working through over the next period to get a real feel for how the picture looks.”he continued.
With the start of the new season in December, it has been learned that Guptill may be eligible for a BBL contract. Boult already has one with the Melbourne Stars, and he will play for MI Emirates in the UAE after that. De Grandhomme announced his retirement shortly after his name appeared unexpectedly during the BBL draft earlier this year. The only one of the four members of the team who are currently getting ready to face India on Friday is Neesham.
Williamson was aware that the situation had changed and that they needed to come up with a solution that would be beneficial to both the team and the individual, despite the fact that NZC have stated that they would prefer to give preference to players who are currently under contract when selecting their squads.
“It’s just trying to strike that balance, like we’ve seen with a few other players who have also sort of looked at some of those other opportunities. It’s a bit of a moving landscape. So it’s trying to weigh that up and look at how it can all work moving forward. Guptill hasn’t retired. He is looking at playing some other tournaments while still being available, but like I say, it’s balancing that moving forward. He’s still very motivated to keep playing and getting better. And I think that’s important for all players, even though he has played such a long, amazing career. As a mate and a team-mate over a long period of time, we had a few good chats. And it’s managing that time. As a player, you always go through different periods and you get to different stages, and you’re trying to basically manage that as best you can.”Williamson concluded.
Williamson himself is facing similar questions, playing and captaining New Zealand in all three formats, but last week he reiterated his desire to keep doing so.