Big Bash: Renegades sign Martin Guptill as No.1 draft pick’s replacement

A difficult decision to give up a national contract with New Zealand after 367 games over more than a decade was made easier by the excitement of rejoining the Big Bash for Martin Guptill.

Thes all-time leading international T20 run-scorer for the Kiwis, Guptill, has signed with the Melbourne Renegades as the second part of a two-pronged international attack, with West Indian star Andre Russell, to replace No.1 draft pick Liam Livingstone.

Guptill is a white-ball beast, having amassed almost 11,000 runs across 320 appearances for his country in ODI and T20I cricket. Only Indian megastars Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have scored more T20I runs than the Kiwi great.

Following in the footsteps of countrymen Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme, Guptill, 36, asked for a release from his contract with New Zealand cricket to hit the worldwide T20 circuit, and his first stop will be the Big Bash.

Guptill has played a single Big Bash game, with the Sydney Thunder in 2010, but returns to the competition with every intention to put on a show.

“This is a new challenge for me, and it will be nice to call Melbourne home for the summer. I’ll be trying to make as many runs as I can,” he said.

“I’ve crossed paths with a few of the guys over the years on the international circuit and know this will be a great team environment to be part of.”

Guptill will link up with the Renegades following Russell’s four-game stint at the start of the tournament, replacing England batter Livingstone, who opted out of his deal due to growing international commitments.

With Guptill potentially set to form an opening partnership with Aaron Finch, he’ll be available for 10 regular season games – starting with a December 28 clash against the Sydney Sixers – plus finals, should the Renegades qualify.

“Signing Martin and Andre over the past month has been a great outcome for our club,” Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said.

“With Andre playing the first four matches and Martin joining us from there, we now have a world-class player available for the duration of the tournament which will help give us every chance of success.”

The Renegades will begin their campaign on December 15 against the Brisbane Heat in Cairns.

RENEGADES SQUAD: Nic Maddinson (c), Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser- McGurk, Martin Guptill*, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Akeal Hosein*, Ruwantha Kellapotha*, Shaun Marsh, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Corey Rocchiccioli, Tom Rogers, Andre Russell*, Will Sutherland, Mujeeb Ur Rahman*, Jon Wells. *Denotes international player

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