Tāmaki Makaurau – New Zealand Cricket has agreed to release Martin Guptill from his central contract so he can pursue premier league and other playing opportunities elsewhere.
The 36-year-old opening batsman has been a fixture in Black Caps white ball squads for the best part of 14 years but did not play in the recently completed T20 World Cup and was not selected for the current T20 and ODI series against India.
Following discussions with NZC, it was agreed Guptill’s request for a release should be accepted, effective immediately.
New Zealand’s leading T20 run-scorer, the third-highest in the ODI format, and third on the world all-time T20 list, Guptill has emphasised he is not retiring from international cricket and still wants to be considered for Black Caps selection when available. But this seems unlikely.
NZCricket has made it clear to him that, while he would remain eligible for selection, preference would continue to be given to those players with central or domestic contracts.
NZCricket chief executive David White says Guppy has been a fantastic batsman for the Black Caps for a long period of time but they don’t want to stand in his way for pursuing premier league cricket.
Guptill is the third Black Caps player to request a release this year, after Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme. Jimmy Neesham has also been released from his central contract, to play in the South African premier league.
Guptill said playing for the Black Caps remained his ultimate goal, as it had been for his entire cricketing career.
However, he also wanted to continue playing league cricket at the highest level possible wherever, and for whoever, that might be.
“Playing for my country has been a massive honour, and I’m grateful to everyone within the Black Caps for their support,” he says.
“But, equally, I’m realistic enough to understand the need to consider my options in the current circumstances.
“With this release, I’m still available for New Zealand, I have the chance to explore other opportunities.”
Few players in world cricket play the short-arm pull on one leg with elegance and statistics of Guptill. A right-handed opening batsman, he has consistently been among the runs in ODIs notably making a double-century in the quarter final of the 2015 World Cup but has struggled to make his mark in tests.
He showed he had it in him to dominate all formats, winning the Richard Hadlee Medal in 2011-12 along with being named ODI and T20 player of the year at the New Zealand Cricket awards.
In 2015, he was the World Cup one day’s leading tournament scorer with 547 runs, just ahead of two all-time greats in Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers.
In 2018, he become New Zealand’s fourth player to reach 6000 ODI runs and entered the 2019 World Cup in red-hot form but failed to have the impact he did in 2015. Despite his struggles, New Zealand entrusted him with batting in the Super Over in the thrilling final against England.
The only ball he faced was the last, with two runs to win, he was run out agonisingly short of the winning second run that would have handed New Zealand the World Cup.