Guptill could be BBL option after NZ exit

Martin Guptill could enter the frame as an option for several Big Bash clubs after New Zealand Cricket agreed to release the veteran batsman from his contract.

The 36-year-old Guptill has been a mainstay of New Zealand's white-ball teams for the past 13 years but has recently fallen out of favour with the national selectors.

His chances of returning have also been dented by the form of young opener Finn Allen, who tore apart Australia's Twenty20 World Cup campaign at the SCG.

Guptill is New Zealand's top-scorer in T20 internationals with more than 3500 runs and is third in one-day internationals having notched 7346.

But he did not play at the recent T20 World Cup in Australia and was omitted from the Black Caps team for the series against India which ended on Tuesday.

Guptill applied for and received a release from his contract, effective immediately.

In turn he could now loom as an option for Australian clubs.

The Sydney Thunder, Melbourne Renegades and Perth are each looking for replacement players in this summer's BBL, after losing their main draft picks over the past eight days.

Guptill was not a part of the draft back in August, but is now eligible to be picked and would likely be a top priority for all three franchises.

Beyond that, most clubs will be on the search for replacement players for the second half of the BBL as a number of overseas stars head to other T20 leagues.

Guptill's availability for that stage of the competition would be dependent on whether he too prefers to be picked up by the lucrative leagues in South Africa and the UAE.

Meanwhile, Guptill has indicated he still wants to play international cricket if called upon but that seems unlikely as the selectors are required to give priority to contracted players.

"We understand Martin's position," NZC chief executive David White said on Wednesday.

"He's been a fantastic batsman for us for a long period of time and we certainly don't wish to stand in his way as he explores other opportunities.

"Martin's been a giant of the white-ball game, a committed and well-respected member of the Black Caps and has earned the right to play out his career on his own terms."

New Zealand paceman Trent Boult was also recently released from his central contract.

He played at the World Cup but was not selected for the India series and will turn out for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL.

Fellow New Zealander Colin de Grandhomme retired from international cricket in August, just after being picked up by Adelaide for the BBL.

- with AAP