Renegades sign NZ star Guptill for BBL

The Melbourne Renegades have secured New Zealand white-ball legend Martin Guptill in a major coup for the Big Bash League.

One of the Black Caps' greatest limited-overs players, Guptill will replace Englishman Liam Livingstone at the Melbourne franchise.

The No.1 pick in the inaugural BBL draft, Livingstone cited workload pressure for withdrawing from the tournament earlier this week.

Guptill's signature is an important one for the struggling Renegades and the BBL with the competition desperate for big names more than ever.

The 35-year-old is the latest New Zealander to join the BBL following left-arm speedster Trent Boult (Melbourne Stars), allrounder Colin de Grandhomme (Adelaide) and Colin Munro (Brisbane) all nominating for the draft.

Despite the BBL's recent problems, Guptill believes the competition is still highly regarded by players outside of Australia.

"It's a great standard of cricket and it's a great spectacle," Guptill told reporters.

"The crowds are amazing from watching on TV so I'm really looking forward to getting across there and getting stuck in."

Guptill will be available for 10 regular-season games, starting with the Renegades' December 28 clash with the Sydney Sixers.

The explosive right-hander is New Zealand's highest T20I run-scorer and the 35-year-old sits only behind Indian stars Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in world cricket.

After three dismal seasons following their shock title win in 2019, the Renegades will boast arguably the most star-studded batting line-up in the competition with Guptill to slot into a top-order alongside Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Nic Maddinson.

After being one of the first names picked in NZ sides for a decade, Guptill was overlooked in favour of young gun Finn Allen for the recent T20 World Cup.

On Wednesday, he became the third New Zealand cricketer to forgo a central contract in order to join the T20 league circuit.

But he still holds out hope of forcing his way back into the national team ahead of the ODI World Cup in India next year.

Guptill was a key player during New Zealand's run to the 2015 and 2019 world cup finals, which they lost to Australia and England respectively.

"I've only got a few years left in the game, so I need to be playing as much cricket as possible," he said.

"I guess being on the outer of the international team at the moment, I just needed to go away and get back to playing and hopefully score some big runs."

Star West Indies allrounder Andre Russell has committed to the Renegades for the first four games of the tournament.