New Zealand have suffered a big blow ahead of the forthcoming three-match T20I series against India. They will be without their opening batsman Martin Guptill for the tough series after failing to recover from a back injury. Guptill aggravated his lower back while throwing a ball in fielding practice on Saturday before the fifth ODI against India. Consequently, he was ruled out of the Sunday’s game in Wellington.
However, there were hopes that Guptill would recover in time for the T20Is. He underwent a fitness test in Wellington on Monday (February 4) but continued to feel pain in his lower back. New Zealand head coach Gary Stead confirmed that Guptill is out of the series while also stating that the injured opener would return to Auckland to rest. Guptill is likely to return to action during the ODI series against Bangladesh later this month.
Allrounder James Neesham has replaced Guptill in New Zealand squad.
Unfortunately Martin hasn’t recovered in time for this T20 series – which is very condensed with three games over five days,” said Stead.
“It’s a shame as he’s obviously a big part of our white-ball sides, but we’ve got to look at the big picture and ensure he gets the injury right.
It’s great to have Jimmy coming into the side after some encouraging ODI performances. It promises to be an exciting series,” added Stead.
The three-match T20I series will get underway on February 6 in Wellington. Both the teams recently ended playing the five-match ODI series which India won 4-1 after winning the last game by 35 runs.
NZ T20I squad v India:
Kane Williamson (c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (Games 1 & 2), James Neesham, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner (Game 3).
Schedule for the T20I Series:
1st T20 – February 6, Wellington
2nd T20 – February 8, Auckland
3rd T20 – February 10, Hamilton
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