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Cricket news - Guptill ruled out of India T20Is

"Unfortunately Martin hasn't recovered in time for this T20 series - which is very condensed with three games over five days" - Stead

Martin Guptill, who is nursing a back injury, has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match T20I series against India, New Zealand cricket announced. The opening batsman, who missed the fifth ODI against India, underwent a fitness test on Monday (February 4) and 'continued to feel the pain in his lower back', NZC stated.

All-rounder James Neesham, who wasn't initially part of the T20 squad, will replace the opener. Guptill, meanwhile, will return to Auckland with the hope of regaining fitness ahead of the ODI series against Bangladesh which begins on February 13.

"Unfortunately Martin hasn't recovered in time for this T20 series - which is very condensed with three games over five days," said New Zealand coach Gary 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."

Meanwhile, the coach was pleased with the availability of Neesham, who has been in good form since his return to international cricket. Neesham struck an unbeaten 47 off 13 deliveries in the first ODI against Sri Lanka, which included five sixes in an over off Thisara Perera and also bagged three wickets. He followed it up with a knock of 64 and bowling figures of 2 for 48 in the second game. A hamstring strain forced him out of the T20I series against Sri Lanka and he was also rested for the first three ODIs against India.

"It's great to have Jimmy coming into the side after some encouraging ODI performances. It promises to be an exciting series," said Stead.

Tim Seifert or Kane Williamson might open with Colin Munro during the T20I series against India, with both Guptill and Henry Nicholls not in the squad. The first T20I will be played in Wellington on Wednesday (February 6), while Auckland and Hamilton will host the next two games on February 8 and February 10 respectively.

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