Imagine being one of the biggest names in world cricket, but still unable to find a place in the playing XI when it comes to the IPL. Dale Steyn is a prime example. Given that an IPL team can field a maximum of four overseas players each game, Steyn – arguably the greatest fast bowler of this era – has been left cheering his side from the dugout on many occasions in the past.
Martin Guptill may not hold the same cult status as Steyn, but his T20I record is right up there with the very best. While he didn’t get any bids during the auction ahead of the 2017 season, Guptill, the second-highest run-getter in T20Is, was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for his base price of INR 1 crore (USD 140,000) this time around. Guptill, though, knows he might have to wait to make his Sunrisers debut.
“It’s funny. When I come here I don’t expect to play straight away,” Guptill said on the eve of Sunrisers’ first home game of the season, against Rajasthan Royals. “It was the same when I was with Kings XI [Punjab in 2017]; I didn’t play straightaway. Just sit back and watch, and try to do as much as I can to help the guys who are playing.
“I got an opportunity to play with Mumbai a couple of years ago and Kings XI the next year. I had the year off last year, and coming here this year, I am looking to forward to hopefully getting an opportunity when the time comes but it’s one of those things; you bide your time until you get selected.”
However, Guptill doesn’t get too worried about what happens during auctions.
“I have been up in the auction a few times and I have been picked up but when I go into the auction, I go in with reasonably low expectations. If I get picked up, that’s great and if I don’t get picked up, then I am not too disappointed.”
Of late, Guptill’s form has been a bit up and down. During the ODI series against India at home, he managed just 47 runs in four innings. A disc injury then kept him out of the T20I series, before he regained fitness and struck form with back-to-back ODI hundreds against Bangladesh.
Guptill revealed that a couple of flaws had crept into his batting which he ironed out with the help of his Auckland coach Mark O’Donnell.
“I had a few issues with something in my game during the India series at home. There were a couple of balance issues. I wasn’t loading up properly in my sit up and that was causing me to play different lines than what I would have liked to. But I watched a lot of footage of what I was doing at that time and what I was doing previously that was working for me.
“I managed to work on those hard and come on the other side and got a couple of centuries against Bangladesh. I am just looking to carry on that sort of rhythm and form that I had there and if I get an opportunity to play, hopefully I can translate that in the middle.”
While he may or may not get a chance to play for Sunrisers soon, Guptill is looking forward to facing the likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi at the nets, which he believes will help him firm his plans for the World Cup.
“I haven’t faced Rashid yet but I have played with him in the CPL a couple of years ago. He’s an amazing bowler, very hard to face because he bowls so quick. I am looking forward to batting against him in the nets and figuring out how to play him because we got them [Afghanistan] second [third] game at the World Cup this year. So I will be trying to face him in the nets so that I can put some plans in place before I face him at the World Cup.”
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.