Guptill hopes CPL helped New Zealand

Caribbean Premier League Media Release.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Martin Guptill, the New Zealand batsman, hopes the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) has acted as a shop window to help sell the best of his country’s cricket to the rest of the world.

The Black Caps have struggled to convince other countries to provide them with lengthy international engagements, especially at Test level, something spoken of last week by fast-bowling legend Sir Richard Hadlee.

However, with Guptill, who has been put on the injury list for the remainder of the inaugural tournament with a broken bone in his right hand, and James Franklin impressing for the Guyana Amazon Warriors and former national captain Ross Taylor slotting into the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel line-up, Guptill hopes the Limacol CPL has helped to lift New Zealand’s global cricketing profile.

“James Franklin and I have had reasonably successful tournaments (for Guyana Amazon Warriors),” he said. “It puts us out there and hopefully people will take notice.  From what I read, Sir Richard’s comments were more to do with (New Zealand’s limited amount of) Test cricket than anything else and we are struggling a little in the Test game at the moment.

“The only way we can get better is by playing more Tests and if that can come in the next few years and we can keep developing as a team then who knows where we can go from there,” he added.

The Warriors ended up topping the group stages of the six-team LCPL with five wins from seven matches, earning themselves a semi-final date with the Red Steel at the Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday as a result.

Despite his injury and the loss of Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez to national duty in Zimbabwe, Guptill said he still believed the Warriors could still go all the way and win the title with Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga drafted in and newcomer likely to replace Guptill himself (Tillakaratne Dilshan was announced as his replacement shortly after this interview).

“I definitely think we can,” he said. “We showed we can with our chase of a decent total against Antigua (on Saturday night).  We got to the last ball and we came through. The spirit is good in the camp and hopefully we can take that forward to the semi-final and hopefully the final.”

Guptill has actually been filling a dual role in the Warriors camp – opening the batting and also acting as a spy in the camp, trying to pick up some inside information on West Indies players ahead of the Caribbean side’s tour of New Zealand set to start in November.

That information has included an attempt to decipher the skills of mystery spinner Sunil Narine, his Warriors team-mate although, as Guptill admitted, trying to crack Narine’s code and read his spin has been anything but easy.

“I have only faced him once in the nets and he was only bowling off-spin then so I do not know what is going to happen when he comes to New Zealand at the end of the year,” he said.

“I have been trying to see when he bowls how he does what he does but it is pretty hard to pick it up.”

One thing Guptill is sure about, however, is how much he has enjoyed the tournament and how much he wants to come back next year.

“It has been a hell of a lot of fun,” he said. “Everyone has got behind it really well and it has been fantastic.

“In the dressing room it has been pretty cool as you see these guys (like coach Curtly Ambrose, captain Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narine and Hafeez) on TV but you never meet them and then to be part of the same team (is great) as we have got along really well.

“We have gelled as a team pretty quickly and it has been fantastic.

“I have absolutely loved it. It has been a great atmosphere with the crowds; we have had packed houses pretty much everywhere we have been and I would love to (come back).

“It all depends on the scheduling of New Zealand’s future tours and when they are going to schedule the Limacol CPL but hopefully there will be a gap in our schedule and I will be able to come back and play some more cricket,” he added.

An audio version of Martin Guptill’s interview is available for free editorial use here:

The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League runs until 24 August with the two semi-finals taking place on 22 and 23 August and the final taking place on Saturday, 24 August.

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Caribbean Premier League Media Release.

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 07:47