Martin Guptill has opted for a second spell with Derbyshire instead of seeking a share of Indian Premier League riches.
The New Zealand opening batsman was a successful and popular recruit as overseas player for the second half of last season but his interest in trying to earn a place in the IPL and his international commitments made it unlikely Derbyshire would be able to bring him back.
However, the 25-year-old right-hander has had a change of plan and has signed for Derbyshire from the start of the 2012 season until June 12, when he will join the Black Caps squad for their tour to the West Indies.
It is believed Derbyshire are keen to bring back Australian batsman Usman Khawaja to take over from Guptill until the end of the season and they also aim to recruit a specialist fast bowler for the Twenty20 Cup.
“We spoke about Martin coming back at the end of last season but it didn’t look like it was going to happen until he said he was willing to forgo the IPL to play for us again,” said head coach Karl Krikken.
“That’s great news because he was tremendous for us last season and, the form he’s in at present, he’s as good a player as anybody in the world.”
Guptill scored a career-best 195 not out for Auckland in their first-class match against Canterbury this week and will tour Australia with New Zealand for a two-Test series which starts on December 1.
He has recently returned from a tour to Zimbabwe, where he scored his second Test century in the lone Test and marked a fine one-day international series with his second century in that form of the game.
After a frustrating start in the County Championship last summer, he went on to average 38.35 in eight matches for Derbyshire with a 143 against Gloucestershire. Guptill also topped the county’s averages in the Clydesdale Bank 40 and was their leading run-scorer in the Friends Life t20 – as well as proving to be a very popular team member.
“Not only is he a good player, he is one of the best lads I’ve known in my time in terms of fitting in and being prepared to do the dirty work, like running drinks as 12th man when he was out injured,” added Krikken.
“I know he enjoyed his time with us as well and that is one of the reasons why he was keen to come back.”