When Black Caps hero Martin Guptill was 13, he was lying in an Auckland hospital bed getting used to the idea he was going to live the rest of his life with two toes on his left foot. He met with an accident in which his foot was crushed with a fork hoist and it nearly cost Guptill his life. Doctors tried to repair it, but couldn’t. In the end, they had to amputate three toes.
His father, Peter, a Suburbs-New Lynn Cricket Club stalwart, used his contacts to get in touch with Jeff Crowe, then manager of the New Zealand team. Stephen Fleming, the then New Zealand captain, visited him at the hospital the next day.
This fact was revealed to the world by state teammate Scott Styris whilst Styris was commentating on Guptill’s ODI debut. This has since earned Guptill the nickname “Two Toes” within the Black Caps team”.
Guptill’s closed ones say that this incident made him even more determined and he tried even harder than before. There was a time in his life when doctors declared that he might not even walk freely anymore.
His entry into the national side was not an easy one. Despite losing three toes, he didn’t lose hope for a moment. He ensured that he worked on his weakness and eventually made it to the New Zealand ODI team in 2009. It was December 2008 when he received a phone call from national selector Glenn Turner.
”He said ‘you’re batting well and we’d like you to play this weekend against the West Indies. Come to training tomorrow at Eden Park, and that was it’.
”I can remember being there in the warmups and thinking ‘this is real’.”- Guptill
In his debut, Guptill played and missed at his first ball, got off the mark with an edge to the third man then put on 140 with Ross Taylor and reached his century with a six off the thunderous hitter Chris Gayle. The crowd rose for the local lad as everyone witnessed a very special inning.
In that match, he scored 122 not out in the Black Caps’ 275-4 against the West Indies at Eden Park.