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Guptill to chase Test middle order spot

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/02/2017

Martin Guptill has accepted that any return to Test cricket will be in the New Zealand middle order, not as an opener.

A world class opening batsman in limited overs internationals, Guptill has struggled in the longest form and was dropped earlier in the summer.

He has been granted a request to drop down the order for Auckland at Plunket Shield level in a bid to hone his middle order batting skills.

The move followed discussions about his Test future with Black Caps coach Mike Hesson.

"We both came to the conclusion that maybe having a crack in the middle order was the best way forward," Guptill told the New Zealand Herald.

The 30-year-old scored 2062 runs in 75 innings as a Test opener, at a modest average of 27.49.

He held various roles further down the order earlier in his career, averaging 40.31 from 13 innings.

Tom Latham and rookie Jeet Raval have enjoyed a solid start to thier partnership and are likely to be persisted with in the three-Test series against South Africa in March.

Guptill's best chance of a recall could be at No.5 in place of Canterbury's Henry Nicholls, who is still finding his feet after 11 Tests. Nicholls scored a career-best 98 in his most recent Test, against Bangladesh in Christchurch.

Guptill is recovering from a hamstring injury and hopes to be fit for the Twenty20 and one-day internationals against the Proteas from next week.

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