Auckland [New Zealand], November 24 (ANI): Ahead of his team's first ODI against India, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said on Thursday said that veteran opener Martin Guptill has been an incredible player for their team and he is still motivated to continue playing and improving.
India will kick off the ODI series against New Zealand with the first ODI at Eden Park, Auckland on Friday. The Men in Blue have won the rain-affected three-match T20I series 1-0.
"I had a few chats with him. He has been incredible for New Zealand. He made the decision to play in other leagues but is still available for New Zealand. He is certainly one of our best white ball players. It is just trying to strike that balance. We have seen that with other players who have looked at some other opportunities. It is a moving landscape. He has not retired. He is still motivated to keep playing and getting better. As a player, you go through different periods, go through different stages. It is about managing it," said Williamson in a pre-match press conference.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has released veteran opener Martin Guptill from his central contract, announced the board on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old opening batsman has been a fixture in NZ 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.
He has represented New Zealand in 47 Tests and has scored 2,586 runs at an average of 29.38. Three centuries and 17 fifties have come from his bat in this format, with the best score of 189.
In 198 ODIs, Guptill has scored 7,346 runs at an average of 41.73 in 195 innings. He has 18 ODI tons and 39 half-centuries to his name, with the best score of 237. Besides this, he has also scored 3,531 runs in 122 T20IS at an average of 31.81, with two tons and 20 fifties and the best score of 105.
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 wishes to be considered for BLACKCAPS selection when available.
For its part, NZC 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.
On the upcoming series, Williamson said that he would not call it a preparation for the 2023 50-over World Cup, but the focus is rather on the series in hand and the brand of cricket his side wants to play.
Williamson said that he still loves playing all formats and changing between them.
"I still have the motivation to keep improving as a player," added Williamson.
On playing ODIs after such a huge amount of T20Is, Williamson said that the side needs to reconnect a bit.
"There have not been a huge amount of ODIs, it was mostly T20Is, with some tests. It is about settling down and getting a nice understanding. There is a change in the environment. These are a few factors. But it is about keeping it nice and simple, going out and express and himself. There is a lot of ODI cricket to come," he added.
The ODI leg of the NZ tour will be held from November 25-30. New Zealand will return to India for a white-ball series in January next year.
New Zealand ODI squad: Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee. (ANI)