Stylish New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill has signed for Derbyshire as their overseas player for the second half of the season.
The 24-year-old right-hander will arrive at the beginning of June to play in the Friends Provident t20 group games and take over from Australian Usman Khawaja in the County Championship and Clydesdale Bank 40 from mid-July until the end of the season.
Both Guptill and Khawaja are a perfect fit for the type of overseas player head of cricket John Morris had in mind – young, highly promising and eager to learn.
Guptill had scores of 50 and 73 in the recent two-Test series against Pakistan and anchored the Black Caps to a nine-wicket victory in the first ODI against Pakistan on January 22 with an unbeaten 40.
His international career started with an unbeaten 122 on his ODI debut against West Indies in January 2009 and he made a maiden Test century in hitting 189 against Bangladesh last February.
Guptill’s 15 Tests to date have given him an average of just under 35 and he has played in 39 one-day internationals, averaging 33.55.
His versatility in adapting the way he bats to the different forms of the game has impressed Morris and Guptill comes to the county with a ringing endorsement from Derbyshire’s most celebrated Kiwi, John Wright.
Wright, now head coach of the New Zealand side, played for Derbyshire from 1977-88. “I’ve had really good help from John Wright on this one,” said Morris. “I know Wrighty well because we played together and Guptill comes very highly recommended from him, which is good enough for me.
“He’s improving all the time and certainly improving as an international cricketer. He looked a very good batsman against Pakistan. Martin is also a consistent performer in the one-day game and he’s getting better all the time in that format too.
“He’s tall, plays very straight, gets a good stride in and he’s very athletic in the field. I’m really looking forward to him coming here and showing us what he can do.
“Guptill and Khawaja are both young and hungry players who are keen to develop their games and I think they will complement each other well in the Twenty20.”