Martin Guptill hasn’t recovered from the back injury that he picked up ahead of the final one-day international against India, and will the three Twenty20 Internationals coming up.
New Zealand Cricket stated that Guptill underwent a fitness test in Wellington and continued to feel pain in his lower back.
The opener will now go back home to Auckland for rest and recuperation, and the hope is that he regains fitness in time for the series against Bangladesh next week.
The opener has been one of New Zealand’s most consistent performers in the white-ball formats for his country. In 76 T20Is, he has amassed a world record 2272 runs at an average of 33.91 while striking at 132.71.
Gary Stead, the New Zealand coach, admitted Guptill’s services would be missed, especially against the dominant Indians, who won the preceding ODI series 4-1.
“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.
On the bright side for New Zealand, Neesham has been in good form, striking a few lusty blows in his valiant knock of 44 from 32 balls in the final T20I. As an all-rounder, he also brings depth to the side.
“It’s great to have Jimmy coming into the side after some encouraging ODI performances. It promises to be an exciting series,” said Stead.
The first of three T20Is will be contested on Wednesday, 6 February in Wellington. The next two matches will be played in Auckland and Hamilton on 8 and 10 February.