Guptill plays straight bat to lineup questions
HAMISH BIDWELL IN KANDY
No matter how the Bangladeshi journalists framed their one question, Black Caps opener Martin Guptill still played it with a dead bat.
Over and over again, Guptill was asked how he and the New Zealand team feel about the 4-0 one-day international whitewash they copped at the hands of Bangladeshin 2010..
He hadn't been on that tour, for a start, and for that reason the four defeats had made no lasting impression on him. As for the team, Guptill said they hadn't talked about it and basically didn't care.
It didn't deter the journalists but nor did it get them anywhere.
Neither did an inquiry about how the New Zealand's top-three might look, when they play Bangladesh at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium in their first match of the Twenty20 World Cup tomorrow night (NZT).
The assumption is that Guptill will open with James Franklin, with Brendon McCullum to follow at first drop.
"Not too sure yet. We'll have a meeting about that tomorrow when we get told what the team's going to be so, until then, I'm not too sure,'' Guptill said yesterday.
If Franklin is promoted top open, then Guptill's confident that he and the Wellington left-hander can form a useful combination.
"I enjoy batting with Franky. We've had a couple of good partnerships in Twenty20 cricket over the last couple of years so hopefully we can continue that on and we compliment each other quite well when we bat together,'' said Guptill.
It's a fair group this one, with Pakistan the remaining team. The top two sides will advance to the Super 8s but it's not a given that one of them will be New Zealand.
"The pool games are probably going to be more pressure-cooker than the Super 8s because if you drop a game the pressure comes on immensely,'' said Black Caps medium pacer Kyle Mills.
"You can probably afford to drop a game [in the Super 8s] and still finish in the top-two in your little group of four. But in a pool of three it gets bit tricky and the pressure's more on pool play in the T20 world cup situation with the way the tournament's set out.''
For all that, Mills said this New Zealand team was looking a wee way beyond the group stage.
"Tournament play seems to really suit us for some reason. We generally seem to make the semifinals in most tournaments going round so we can take a little bit of confidence from that.
"In the group [of players] that we have here, there's quite a few guys that have been in those positions ... and for a few of the guys in that group I guess it could potentially be the last world cups together, so there's a lot of excitement around the group from that point of view.''
Without being seen to be prematurely retiring anyone, Mills himself and allrounders Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori have probably got more world cups behind them than ahead of them. So if there is a group of guys he's talking about, then presumably it's them.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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