Cricket: Blackcaps great Martin Guptill unsure where future of game lies as international, franchise divide widens

At a time when domestic Twenty20 leagues are being prioritised over international cricket, a Blackcaps legend concedes it's hard to tell where the future of the game lies.    

South Africa's 14-man squad for next month's tour here contains seven uncapped players as they instead emphasise their own domestic T20 competition.   

Martin Guptill has been one of the beneficiaries of such leagues, though ahead of a milestone match, he told Newshub only time will tell where that leaves the pinnacle of the game.   

The Eden Park Outer Oval will be renamed Martin Guptill Oval for Thursday's Super Smash match between Auckland and Wellington.  

Martin Guptill.
Martin Guptill. Photo credit: Getty Images

But the 37-year-old asserts his time in the game is far from done.   

"I feel like I've still got a lot left in the tank," he said. "Tomorrow's certainly not a retirement or anything like that."    

That's because after opting out of his central contract in 2022, Guptill continues to freelance. In fact, next week he leaves to play in the UAE's International League T20.    

That competition is one of several going on at the same time as internationals, driving a greater split between club and country.   

And as a stalwart of both sides, even Guptill is unsure where the game sits entering 2024.   

"Only time will tell, it's too hard to know at the moment," Guptill continued. "There's a lot of people, a lot of players still wanting to play for their countries, which is absolutely fantastic. Because that is the pinnacle."  

Cricket South Africa are having players prioritise their domestic comp, rather than tests on these shores. 

Seven players in their touring squad, including their skipper, will be uncapped, leading to criticism of the Proteas' approach.   

"Test cricket is the pinnacle in my eyes," said former Australia captain Michael Clarke.  "No domestic competition in the world should come in front of it, in my opinion. 

"Playing for your country is the most important thing."   

But in the ever-changing game, Guptill is unsure either way where he stands.   

"If I was playing test cricket still, maybe I'd feel different. But I'm just not sure how I sit on it at the moment."   

What he does know is where he'll sit on Thursday, and that'll be at Martin Guptill Oval.