Cricket's Martin Guptill talks about the World Cup and playing for Derbyshire
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 June 2015
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Derbyshire County Cricket Club welcomes back overseas player Martin Guptill
In the cauldron of the ‘Cake Tin’ Martin Guptill set the cricket World Cup alight with an explosive 237 runs that propelled New Zealand into the semi-finals of the leading competition in the international game.
The record-breaking innings in the Wellington quarter final against the West Indies was Martin’s second century in the tournament and came off only 163 balls. Containing 11 sixes and 24 fours, it’s an innings that will live long in the memory.
As Martin relaxes into media duties at a 3aaa County Cricket bathed in early spring sunshine, it’s still the innings that everyone wants to talk about – it was that good.
So when did Martin began to feel he was re-writing the cricket history books?
‘Probably not until I hit 150,’ he says. ‘The first 100 was reasonably subdued but when it came to the batting power play I felt it was time to hit a few boundaries. I got the first few away and then it was about carrying on.’
The Black Caps star ended the tournament as the highest run-scorer with a total of 547 at an average of 68.37 but it still wasn’t enough to secure a first World Cup success for New Zealand. They went into the final as the only unbeaten side in the competition but, despite having got the better of Australia in the group matches, were beaten by their fierce rivals when it really mattered.
Martin says: ‘Cricket is one of these games where you are always going to have good days and bad days. Unfortunately for us our bad day was in the final. On another day we might have easily scored 250 plus. We were still very proud of the way we played in the World Cup and moving forward there are very good signs for New Zealand cricket.
‘There is a confidence in the team at the moment. Our opening bowlers make a big impact and that gives us a boost when we go out to bat. And for me, walking out to the middle with Brendon McCullum (the Black Caps’ big-hitting captain) is a great feeling. You can go out and just watch his fireworks.
‘Brendon’s influence has had a lot do with the success of the team. He shows a lot of confidence in his players. He did that to me through the build up to the World Cup when I wasn’t scoring too many runs. They stuck with me and I paid him back, hopefully, with what I did in the tournament.
‘Overall, it was a pretty unique experience. Playing in New Zealand we have never had crowds quite like that. They were absolutely amazing. The atmosphere they created in every game was unbelievable.’
That success has seen the opener restored to the New Zealand test squad, who will be touring England this summer. That’s good news for Martin but bad news for Derbyshire, who will enjoy his influence for fewer games as a result.
Despite his appearances being limited by international duties, Derbyshire is delighted to welcome back a player who knows the county and who is in such cracking form.
He says: ‘I loved my previous time here and although there has been a few personnel changes and some ground development, it still feels the same. It’s great to be back.
‘Everyone here has enjoyed the pre-season and is buzzing and looking to get in amongst them. I love playing county cricket, it’s awesome fun. I also think there’s no better way to prepare for a test series than to play county cricket. That was the main reason for me wanting to come back, to play some matches, score some runs and get back in that test team. The bonus was getting the test recall before I had actually played a game.’
Martin was last with Derbyshire in 2012, helping the club to gain promotion to the first division of the County Championship – if they manage that this year they will have to do the larger part without him while he’s back on international duty.
Instead, Martin will be hoping to spend part of the summer adding to England’s current international headaches by piling on the pressure with New Zealand, who have become a major force in all three formats of the game. Indeed, New Zealand were the only nation to record five test victories in 2014.
So what are New Zealand doing right and where are England going wrong?
‘Every team goes through a slump,’ says Martin. New Zealand did three or four years ago and now we have come out on the other side. Now it’s England’s turn. It seems to me there’s a little bit of a lack of confidence in the England side at the moment, although it’s hard for me to say being on the outside. If you go through the England line-up they are a world class side. They could put it back together in the next game and be back on top of the world before you know it. They have the talent.’
Although Martin’s hoping any revival happens after they have succumbed to the Black Caps in the two tests, five ODIs and one T20 game that act as a curtain raiser to the Ashes series.
Martin says: ‘Wherever you play in the world you are always trying to prove that you can do it and it is exciting to be here in England trying to do that.’
Martin plays Caribbean League and Big Bash cricket in a typical year as well as playing for his country. It makes for a nomadic life that’s typical of today’s top class cricketers.
He says: ‘We have a tour of Zimbabwe coming up as well, so busy times. Living out of a suitcase isn’t much fun but you only have a short career and one chance to do it, so you have to get through it. Everyone has their way of dealing with it.
‘That is why it is always nice to be back somewhere you already know, like Derbyshire.’
That record breaking innings
• Martin Guptill registered the second highest individual score in ODIs. Rohit Sharma tops the list with 264 against Sri Lanka.
• Martin Guptill is only the second batsman in the history of World Cups to crack a double ton.
• He broke Chris Gayle’s record (215 against Zimbabwe in Canberra in the same World Cup) for the highest individual score in World Cups.
• He is now the first cricketer from New Zealand to notch up a double ton in ODIs
• He is the first cricketer from New Zealand to score back-to-back 100 plus scores in World Cups.