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Mumbai Indians' Martin Guptill to make most of his first IPL 9 game

Mumbai Indians' Martin Guptill will want to make most of the opportunity in his first IPL game vs Gujarat after being called in as replacement for injured Lendl Simmons

It came as a rude shock for New Zealand's ace batsman and marquee player Martin Guptill when he found no takers in the last Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.

Mumbai Indians’ Martin Guptill during a practice session at Wankhede yesterday. PIC/ATUL KAMBLE
Mumbai Indians' Martin Guptill during a practice session at Wankhede yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Martin Guptill's NZ skipper Kane Williamson was quoted as saying, "If I owned a team I would have picked Guptill. He's playing amazing cricket at the moment and he's a world-class player, certainly in the white ball format."

However, the Kiwi opener has got a chance to enter the IPL for the first time as a replacement for Mumbai Indians' Lendl Simmons. It's how Royal Challengers Bangalore drafted Chris Gayle, who also went unsold in the 2011 IPL auction.

Guptill can have the same kind of impact as Gayle had on RCB.

Guptill sweats it out
Guptill reached the city on Thursday and hit the nets straightaway yesterday. He batted for half-an-hour initially, hammering the net bowlers at will. He later went to the adjacent nets to take on the spinners and to get some throwdowns.

MI's wicketkeeper-opener Parthiv Patel too confirmed that the New Zealander is available for selection against Gujarat Lions today at the Wankhede Stadium.

Like most other teams in the IPL, Mumbai Indians are yet to find a steady opening pair. In fact, in one season, MI tried out more than four different pairs. In Simmons, MI found one end secured, but the partners at the other end kept changing.

Guptill is a clear option for Mumbai Indians and can hope to find the right kind of stability that the team is looking at. He can be aggressive, but can also cut down his shots drastically if the situation demands.

Impressive in WT20
In the recently-concluded World T20 in India, Guptill showed immense signs of adapting well to the sub-continental conditions — a common criticism against him.

Guptill scored 140 runs in four innings for New Zealand that included a whirlwind 80 against Pakistan at Mohali.

For the record, Guptill has three centuries in T20 cricket overall. The NZ opening batsman was the highest run-getter in the 2015 World Cup, scoring 547 runs in nine matches, including a knock of 237 not out against West Indies in the quarter-final.

It remains to be seen if MI skipper Rohit Sharma goes back to the No 4 position or send Parthiv down the order to accommodate Guptill.

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