Martin Guptill is not among the four first-choice overseas players for Sunrisers Hyderabad but the senior New Zealand batsman wants to utilise his time facing Rashid Khan at the nets to prepare for the World Cup game against Afghanistan on June 8.
With David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan being the first choice foreigners and regular captain Kane Williamson waiting to get fit, Guptill will have to bide his time but he wants to make optimal use of it.
For Guptill, Rashid is a bowler he has not faced much save a few games in an earlier Caribbean Premier League edition. “I played with him in CPL a couple of years back. He is an amazing bowler. He is very hard to face because he is quick,” Guptill said during a media interaction.
“I will be getting into the nets to figure out how to play him because our second game at the World Cup this year is against Afghanistan. Obviously, if I can face him at the nets, may be I can put some plans in place for the World Cup,” said the 32-year-old, who has played 47 Tests, 169 ODIs and 76 T20 Internationals.
Guptill is hopeful of making full use of his chances at Sunrisers, having worked on his technique after an indifferent home series against India. “During the India series, I had some technical problem and I corrected it against Bangladesh,” he said.
Asked what exactly the problem was, Guptill said: “My balance was not correct. I was not loading up well in my set up that caused me playing to different lines than I would have liked to. But I did work hard with my longtime coach at Auckland with whom I share a good working relationship.”
Guptill has never been a sought after player in IPL like some of his other New Zealand team-mates but he actually has no qualms. “I go into auctions with reasonably low expectations. If I get picked, it’s good and if not can’t do anything about it. It’s my third season with a third team. So I am doing the rounds. SRH is quite a tight-knit unit and they have had the same core of players for a number of years now. I know I can’t get into the XI straightaway,” he said.
He might get a chance in the second half when Bairstow returns to England but Guptill does not want to look that far ahead.
“I try not to get too ahead. Cricket is a funny game. I take each net session as it comes and work hard.”
Talk about the net session, the best part is getting inputs from someone of VVS Laxman’s calibre. “Sometimes it’s good to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at your game and see what they pick up. VVS Laxman is an amazing person. It is always good to have players like that around you from whom you can learn a lot. It is quite an exciting prospect to learn from him.”