Worcestershire have today signed one of the most destructive batsman in world cricket in their bid for Vitality Blast glory by adding New Zealander Martin Guptill for the 2018 campaign
Guptill is available for the Rapids first eight North Group matches and Head Coach Kevin Sharp is delighted to have signed a “world class player.”
Then another exciting batsman in Australian, Callum Ferguson will take over from Guptill for the conclusion of the Blast campaign.
It adds up to a mouth-watering batting line-up for Rapids supporters with Guptill and then Ferguson joining Australian star Travis Head, and fellow big hitters Ross Whiteley and Joe Clarke.
The 31-year-old Guptill will link up with the Rapids on June 20 through to July 29 and is also available to play in the Specsavers County Championship matches against Lancashire and Nottinghamshire when Head will be on international duty.
He has been a massive part of the Black Caps success in white ball cricket, playing in 159 ODIs – scoring 13 centuries at an average of 42.99 – and 75 T20Is where he has a strike rate of 132.88.
Guptill, who has also played in 47 Tests, hit the second highest ODI score of all time when making 237 not out against the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final in Wellington.
He regularly plays in the Big Bash and the IPL and, after leaving Blackfinch New Road on July 29, will be participating in the Caribbean Premier League.
Sharp said: “Martin is a world class player. With Martin and Travis and the rest of our batting line-up, it will be quite a scary prospect for some opposition sides to think what might happen.
“It is exciting for us to sign someone of his quality and I’m sure he is someone all the Rapids supporters will look forward to watching.
“In white ball, he is a destructive batsman – and his record proves that – and for him to be available for the first eight T20 games is excellent.
“But he also has a good record in red ball cricket and will also be able to play the two Championship matches in June when Travis is on international duty.”
Ferguson will take over Blast duties from Guptill for the last six games of the Blast but is also available for the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup in mid June if Worcestershire progress through the North Group.
The 33-year-old has played 30 ODIs and three T20Is for Australia in addition to one Test and this winter has been playing Big Bash cricket for Sydney Thunder.
He has since been part of the South Australia side in the Sheffield Shield and in his last game hit 92 against West Australia in Adelaide.
Sharp said: “When Travis leaves for the ODI Series with England, there will still be one Royal London One-Day Cup group game plus a potential quarter-final and semi-final before Martin Guptill arrives.
“Callum could be available to play in those and he will then step into the Blast for the last six games when Martin leaves.
“Callum is very keen to get back playing representative cricket and get himself back to where he wants to be and it is another excellent signing for us.”
Worcestershire will be bidding to reach their first Blast finals day and Sharp confirmed: “If we get to the final, it will be a case of seeing whether we can get Martin or Callum back for that alongside Travis who is available for the entire Blast competition.”
Worcestershire CEO, Matt Rawnsley said “Adding two world class international players across all formats is going to be a significant boost to the bench strength of the squad.
“I’m sure that all of our members and supporters are delighted that Martin and Callum will join us for the 2018 campaign”