New Zealand opening batsman Martin Guptill was ruled out of the upcoming three-match T20I series against India owing to a back injury.

The right-handed batsman suffered a back injury during a training session on Saturday prior to the 5th ODI against India, as was ruled out of the same. The Kiwis coach Gary Stead on Monday told reporters that injury to the batsman is worse than what was thought before.

“Unfortunately Martin hasn’t recovered in time for this T20 series – which is very condensed with three games over five days,” Stead was quoted as saying by New Zealand news website Stuff. “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,” he added.

The allrounder Jimmy Neesham, who was impressive with the bat on Sunday in the final ODI, was named as Guptill’s replacement. “It’s great to have Jimmy coming into the side after some encouraging ODI performances,” Stead said.

Guptill took a fitness Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Sunday but continued to feel pain in his lower back. The allrounder will return to Auckland to rest, and the side hopes to see him return for the next ODI series against Bangladesh, starting February 13.

In Guptill’s absence, it still remains to be seen who will open the innings with Colin Munro. Skipper Kane Williamson, who comes out to open for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL and the wicketkeeper Tim Seifert appear to be the two candidates for the position at the moment.

New Zealand squad:
Kane Williamson (captain), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games 1 & 2), Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner (game 3)


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