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We’ve done well as a group: Guptill

Aces opener says his team’s confidence has grown during CLT20 2012

A prolific run-maker, Martin Guptill is known to score off opposition bowlers with clinical precision. The opener is an important cog in the Auckland Aces line-up as they bid for a place in the semi-finals of CLT20 2012. In a format where the first six overs of the game are crucial, Guptill will play a vital role in determining his team’s fate.

The Aces did well to qualify for the main event and will be looking to finish on a high when they take on the Perth Scorchers on October 23. They continue to practice hard ahead of their match at the Supersport Park here. After a game of football and hitting the nets, Guptill spoke to clt20.com about opening the batting and the Auckland Aces CLT20 campaign. 

Excerpts from his interview:

What would the Auckland Aces take away from CLT20 2012?

I guess the confidence and playing well as a group. The boys have been here for a few weeks now and there is good confidence in the mix now. We are playing very well at the moment so we can take that into the summer back home.

How have the batsmen been preparing for the tournament and what are the adjustments that you’ve had to make after playing in the sub-continent?

The guys came here two weeks before I got here and they have prepared very well at the camp that they had in Pretoria.

For me it was about just managing the bounce having been in Sri Lanka where the wickets don’t bounce a lot and coming here, in my first game against Trinidad & Tobago batting was bit of challenge. The ball was bouncing everywhere and it was quite tough to get used to it straight away; but the more you face the bowlers in the nets on bouncy wickets, the easier it becomes.

Azhar Mahmood has been playing a key role in your team. Tell us about his contribution and what he brings to the table

He is playing very well for us at the moment. He is a world-class player as he has shown while playing for Pakistan and various teams around the world. He has brought a lot of knowledge for the guys and younger guys in the team especially, the bowlers and the younger batters as well. He is quite the joker of the team. He is a good lad and gets along very well with everyone. So it was very nice to have him in the side and hopefully he comes back this year for the HRV Cup for us.

What are the plans going into the last game?

Obviously we are looking for a win on Tuesday. If we don’t win, we go home; if we win, we give ourselves a chance to qualify and hopefully we can [win]. If we can go out there and play the way we played in the last few games early on in the tournament, then we will be happy if we can play well as a team and get confidence from that.

You have been successful in the shorter formats of the game. What according to you is the key to batting in T20?

Having the confidence in your game and to go out and just show your stuff. Last summer, back home in the HRV Cup I was lucky enough to be in some pretty good form and I carried that through to the international summer at home and scored a few runs there as well. I was lucky that I was in good form and was able to take it through.

What are the challenges while opening the batting in the three different formats?

For the longer format you are not looking to hit boundaries in every over. You are waiting for the bad ball and trying to put that away. In the shorter forms you are looking to up the run-rate from the word go. So it’s about managing the training and how you are approaching your innings in different formats.

What do you reckon is the key to opening in T20?

It is just about backing your ability. If you can’t back yourself, you are not going to score runs. If you can do that you will do well; that’s the key.

There have been times initially in your career when you batted at No.3. Have you always been an opener? What do you enjoy about opening?

I have always been an opener since I started playing first-class cricket. There has been a bit of chop and change. I batted at No.3 for Auckland but they generally open with me in one-dayers. I bat at No.3 in four-day games and then I went up to opening in four-dayers. I enjoy opening the batting. It is a good challenge for me, I love it and I want to keep doing it for the rest of my career.

You get out there early and you are in the thick of things straight away and that’s what I enjoy; so hopefully I can keep doing that for the rest of my career. 

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