Martin Guptill must revive his Test career as middle-order batsman: New Zealand coach

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Wellington, March 2: New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill's record-breaking performance in a one-day international against South Africa is not enough to secure him a Test recall, Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said on Thursday (March 2).

Guptill smashed an unbeaten 180 off 138 balls as the Black Caps beat South Africa by seven wickets in Hamilton on Wednesday (March 1), the highest-ever score by a New Zealander against the Proteas.

Martin Guptill must revive his Test career as middle-order batsman: New Zealand coach

It was also New Zealand's third-highest ODI score overall, bettered only by Guptill's own 189 against England in 2013 and his 237 against the West Indies in 2015.

Hesson acknowledged Guptill's knock was "exceptional" but said the 30-year-old had already been tried at Test level and found wanting. He said Guptill would not feature in New Zealand's squad for the three-Test squad against South Africa beginning in Dunedin next Wednesday.

"He's not in the Test side, I think you've probably got to look at Martin's record at the moment and make that decision," Hesson told Radio New Zealand.

"There's plenty of examples around the world of players who have been extremely good at one format and not the other, hence there's three different formats."

Guptill averages 43.98 in one-dayers but only 29.38 in Tests. The discrepancy has become even more stark recently, with the batsman averaging almost 60 in one-dayers over the past two years while his Test returns were stuck on 28.93.

He was dropped from the Test squad after last year's tour of India, where he managed only one half-century in six innings.

Hesson said Guptill may have a chance to revive his Test career as a middle-order batsman, rather than an opener, but he would have to prove himself in domestic cricket first.

"We've decided the middle order's the place for him to push his case," he said. Guptill said he would do whatever was needed to play red-ball cricket again.

"I'll bat wherever, it doesn't matter if it's at 11," he told Radio Sport.

Guptill's 180 helped New Zealand level the ODI series at 2-2, setting up a winner-takes-all clash in the fifth and final match at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

AFP

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