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December 8, 2006
Damien Martyn, who was often unpredictable with the bat, has made a surprising call by announcing his retirement from both international and domestic cricket. Martyn's place was under heavy scrutiny after the second Test in Adelaide, but he took control of his future by informing Cricket Australia of his decision today with immediate effect.
Martyn, 35, said the current Ashes campaign, which Australia lead 2-0, needed people who were "more than 100% committed". "I said to myself when I made this decision in the last 48 hours that I may lose friends in doing what I'm doing," he said in a statement. "But I also said to myself that if I stayed doing what I was doing I may equally lose respect for myself and the friendship of those around me."
After a disappointing start to the series with scores of 29, 11 and 5, Martyn was expected to earn a reprieve for a home-ground appearance in Perth when Shane Watson failed to recover from a hamstring injury. However, Australia's desire to add to the bowling attack appears to have signalled the end for Martyn and Andrew Symonds was selected in the 13-man squad along with Adam Voges.
Ricky Ponting said Martyn thought "long and hard" about the decision and the team would miss him. "Damien is one of the world's most unsung players in both forms of the game and I don't think it is really understood how good he actually is," Ponting said. "In recent times he won the Test in Johannesburg off his own bat and played a huge role in Australia claiming the Champions Trophy for the first time.
"He is one of those players who, as the conditions and situations got harder and more difficult, the better he became. Some of his innings in Sri Lanka and India on turning pitches proved his class and I know I will miss his influence on the Australian team."
During the Adelaide Test Ponting spoke about how important Martyn was to the side and felt criticism of the batsman was unwarranted. Martyn was demoted to No. 5 for the successful second-innings chase in Adelaide and was out when he stepped away and glided to gully in a bid to maintain a high run-rate.
Martyn played 67 Tests in a 14-year career, scoring 4406 runs at 46.37, and he was also involved in 208 one-day internationals. He made his debut as a gifted 21-year-old against West Indies in 1992-93 and played in three series before being blamed for Australia's tight loss to South Africa at the SCG the next season. Six years later he was recalled for a tour of New Zealand and developed into one of Australia's most attractive and dependable batsmen.
His greatest year came in 2004 when he grabbed six centuries and was the standout player during important series victories in Sri Lanka and India, where Australia won for the first time in 35 years. Dropped after the 2005 Ashes, when he suffered a couple of poor umpiring decisions, he came back for the tour of South Africa and picked up a match-winning hundred in the final Test, but he was unable to re-find his form during the current campaign.
Martyn, who was married in the off-season, has usually tried to avoid the spotlight and is travelling today. "I'm aware of the tremendous challenges facing Australian cricket, including this current Ashes series," he said. "Such challenges require people who are more than 100% committed, dedicated, disciplined and passionate about the game, what it seeks to achieve and how those involved in the game can best serve cricket.
"I feel, therefore, it's time for me to move aside. I have enjoyed everything the game has given me. I have gained from it more than I could have ever imagined."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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