Two Toes is on top of the world

BY DANIEL MARKHAM
Last updated 15:32 29/01/2009
IAIN McGREGOR
RISING STAR: Martin Guptill celebrates scoring a ton for Auckland against Northern Districts earlier this year.

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MOST young blokes would probably hit the town for a few celebratory drinks.

But not "Marty Two Toes" Guptill.

The star batsman, better known to the wider public as Martin, instead headed straight back to where it all started – Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club at Ken Maunder Park in New Lynn.

He’d just scored a century against the West Indies during his debut match with the New Zealand one-day side and was keen to share his success with the people he’s known since childhood.

"A lot of my mates play at the club so I go down whenever I can to see them," the 22-year-old says.

"But at the moment I don’t get much of a chance because I’m always away with teams."

Suburbs youth development coach Kit Perera has known the top-order batsman since his days as a talented youngster in the Avondale College first 11.

"Most guys would have gone off and done their own thing but he went straight to the club for a lemonade and to see the boys.

"He’s that sort of guy – very modest and level-headed."

That down-to-earth nature will come in handy this month when Guptill takes part in his first tour of Australia.

The Black Caps play the first of five one-dayers against the Aussies on Sunday and the New Lynn resident is looking forward to testing himself against the world’s best.

"I didn’t really expect to get the call-up against the West Indies and have been really happy with the way I’ve played so far," he says.

"Now I just want to keep it going in Australia."

Guptill batted right through the New Zealand innings in his first match and finished on 122 not out, the highest score ever posted by a Kiwi on debut.

To top things off, his stunning effort took place on his Eden Park home turf in front of parents Peter and Jan, as well as girlfriend Amy.

And he did it all without a full complement of toes to stand on.

Guptill has only two toes on his left foot after an accident at 14, hence the nickname used by his teammates.

"I was out working for dad and was playing silly buggers next to the forklift," he recalls.

"I had to have an operation to get three toes taken off. They tried to save them but couldn’t."

The former Kelston primary and intermediate student was back on the field within a couple of months and says the injury has not really affected his game.

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"I’ve carried on the way I always used to – running around and diving everywhere," he says.

- Western Leader

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