Promotion still in Derbyshire’s sights, says Guptill

Martin Guptill believes Derbyshire’s promotion push is back on track after his big-hitting helped them up to third in Division Two of the County Championship.

The New Zealand opener has smashed two fifties and two centuries in his last four innings for the team, who have now leap-frogged Gloucestershire in the table.

His first ton provided the platform to beat the West Country side by seven wickets, while his second allowed them to see off Yorkshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40.

Speaking ahead of their clash with league leaders Northamptonshire, the Kiwi is confident the Peakites can now maintain their challenge at the top.

Guptill, 24, said: “It’s going to be tough as there are some decent teams in the division, but we’ve just got to keep playing the same brand of cricket that we have been doing.

“If we do that I think we’ll be right up there come the shake-up. There is no reason why this team can’t be challenging for honours.

“There are some really talented cricketers at the county and a lot of them are playing well at the moment. Fortunately, I’ve been doing well too.

“I’ve been feeling good all summer but it’s great to finally put some big scores on the board and make some contributions for the team.

“I’m not sure why it’s clicked in recent times but I’m delighted it has. Hopefully I can keep it up, starting with the game against Northants.”

Guptill joined Derbyshire ahead of their Friends Life t20 fixtures earlier this season after John Morris approached former team-mate and New Zealand coach John Wright.

Morris was unexpectedly sacked before Guptill arrived, but he has settled into life at the county under new coach Karl Krikken and skipper Luke Sutton.

And he has been so impressed with the pair – as well as the county’s emerging talent – that he is hopeful of returning next year if his international schedule permits.

He said: “Krik has been fantastic and he’s really helped me a lot since I’ve been here. Hopefully we can keep that going and hopefully I can keep in touch when I move back home.

“I’ve also really enjoyed Luke’s captaincy, and him as a bloke as well. He knows his players really well and has got a great idea of how to play the game.

 “It’s a really exciting time to be at Derbyshire as there are some great young players coming through. The likes of Dan Redfern and Ross Whiteley have got bright futures.”

If Guptill can maintain his form for both county and country his future could be a bright one too, especially if he’s picked to take part in next year’s IPL tournament.

But it will be music to Wright’s ears that his focus in the coming months is much closer to home. He added: “I’d love to give the IPL a go, but the main thing for me will always be playing for New Zealand. That’s my number one priority.

“If I get the opportunity it would be great – but if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world.”

About Robin Hutchison

Robin Hutchison is a Midlands-based sports Journalist and PR consultant. He is a regular contributor to The Cricketer magazine and currently pens their monthly betting column. He also contributes articles to a number of national newspapers including The Sun, Daily Star, Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express and is the author of The Tinman: The Ted McMinn Story.
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