Third Test, Perth December 8, 2006

My favourite Martyn

No Australian batsman in his time was easier on the eye
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Perhaps the most revealing feature of Damien Martyn’s retirement announcement is the admission that he felt unequal to challenge of being ‘more than 100 per cent committed, dedicated, disciplined and passionate about the game’, as among Australians is now de rigueur. The minimum dedication standard was recalibrated last year when Matt Hayden said that he was ‘one billion per cent’ behind Ricky Ponting; the writing may have been on the wall for Marto ever since.

Figures were never uppermost when you watched Martyn bat, playing so late that he almost seemed to be procrastinating, although so easefully that he enjoyed less credit for application and more blame for carelessness than most. Journalists harped on his cheap dismissal under pressure in the Sydney Test against South Africa in January 1994, although what really held him back was that he didn’t break 50 in 21 first-class innings after being busted to Sheffield Shield ranks. He did not return from the wilderness a better player, but he was certainly more conspicuously dedicated, having partaken of that philosophy of Stuart MacGill’s: ‘When in Rome, do as Steve Waugh.’ No Australian batsman in his time was easier on the eye; noone had lovelier trademark stroke than his back foot drive through the covers. But having learned that talent could only take one so far, I suspect he understood better than most the difference between subsisting on ability and genuine body-and-soul conviction.

About fourteen months ago when a sport magazine asked me to name an Australian team for the Ashes series of 2006-7, I included Adam Voges simply for the sake of a new name. I should be modest about my powers of prescience: I expected great things of Simon Katich too. Martyn’s retirement also provides another opportunity for Andrew Symonds, and further opportunity for Michael Hussey, whom it now seems sensible to promote to number four, and for whom billion per cent dedication is merely a preliminary bid.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • marcus on December 17, 2006, 2:31 GMT

    Nathan Collins, I'm just so relieved that someone other than me thinks so. Ponting only averaged 44 during the nineties, against attacks featuring Donald, Akram, Waqar Younis, Courtney and Curtley. Now that's a good average, but it's not the average of our best since Bradman.

  • Nathan Collins on December 15, 2006, 18:56 GMT

    I'm not sure whether one could say there's a fair amount of daylight to number 3. Ponting does have a remarkable average at the moment and has tapped into a rich vein of form. But, Greg Chappell did average nearly 54 and he batted against superior attacks during his career to those Ponting has generally faced. For instance, there's not an English bowler in this current line-up that would even make their All-Time Second XI. Fact.

  • Al on December 13, 2006, 1:14 GMT

    A former first-class player on the other side of Martyn: http://www.theage.com.au/news/columns/martyns-farewell-showed-a-lack-of-care/2006/12/11/1165685616344.html

  • Jaswant Singh on December 11, 2006, 21:21 GMT

    Now that Martyn has been pushed into retirement,the selectors and some armchair pundits will start howling for Langer's blood,and then for Hayden's.

    How many know that Martyn,Hayden and Langer all have better averages than Boon (sickening to watch with a foul mouth to boot) and Mark Waugh.Does anyone remember how Mark Waugh scored 4 consecutive zeroes in Sri Lanka. I believe the year was 1992.

    Selectors are an amazing breed . Reading cricket history I recall that Barrington had to fight for his test place for England but not Cowdrey. Barrington retired due to a heart condition with a test average of 58 plus, the second highest all time for England.

    On the other hand bogus cricketers like Faroukh Engineer were raised to the heavens by dumb selectors. Engineer, having dropped a record number of catches for Mumbai and India ( read Gawaskar) went on to play for a World Eleven;unfortunately no one kept a track of catches he dropped in this exalted capacity.

    How many know that bot

  • luke on December 11, 2006, 20:21 GMT

    One Western Australian for another hey? not wanting to add fuel to your interstate debate! lets hope Voges can in time can take up the mantle left by Damien Martyn, but one thing for sure is he would have a lot to live up to. I've grown up in Yorkshire where people see lancastrians as the old enemy, nevermind Australians; Damien Martyn has been my batting idol since the 2001 ahes tour, however i will always remember him most fondly for his 230 odd in about 2 sessions for yorkshire a few years back, as well as a century he made for WA i saw on holiday in perth from my early childhood! Perhaps it was just that legendary square drive or the uppercut!

  • dharmendra on December 11, 2006, 11:25 GMT

    I was too shock when i heard the saddest news that one of my favourite player martyn retiered. I cannot beieve even today how would aguy like martyn can retire?I think it just a pressure to martyn to retire. Anyway no problem martyn is my icon i will always praise him where could he be.Atlast congratulation to martyn for a great success cricket carrer and we can see him in this field working .

  • marcus on December 11, 2006, 7:23 GMT

    Victorian Hero

    Please, there's no need to be petty. Everyone here likes both M. Waugh and Martyn, including me, so that presumably means that we're all the joint stupidest cricket fans around?

    As for your other comments, Martyn and Mark Waugh may have gotten out to a lot of "soft" dismissals; in other words, they went out playing their shots. That doesn't mean they weren't committed. Martyn averaged over 50 before the Ashes, and Waugh played over a hundred CONSECUTIVE tests, and did damned well in them too. Basically your problem with them is that they made it look easy, and didn't care about their averages. If you can't tell the difference between THAT and not caring, then you probably shouldn't be calling anyone an idiot.

  • billy on December 11, 2006, 6:29 GMT

    martyn meh he wasn't as great as you all say

  • daniel on December 11, 2006, 4:58 GMT

    how would a guy like martyn just retire, out of the blue? he must have been hinted, he was being left out of the Perth test? and i think it takes a brave man, to retire before being dropped..he has realised that he isnt enjoying it, or finding form, and has taken a big step in retiring! good on him..it opens a spot in the team for the likes of a young Voges who will be a superstar, or opens the spot for the all rounder symonds or watson later down the track..which then would keep the younger Clarke in the team, and make the aussies a better side!!

  • Darren-18 on December 11, 2006, 4:29 GMT

    Im not going to sit here and compare marto to any other player because i think he was in a class of his own. He has always been my favourite cricketer and also sportsman, he will be greatly missed i will never admire another sportsman like i did martyn. Good luck marto and thanks for the great cricket you played and made it look so easy

  • marcus on December 17, 2006, 2:31 GMT

    Nathan Collins, I'm just so relieved that someone other than me thinks so. Ponting only averaged 44 during the nineties, against attacks featuring Donald, Akram, Waqar Younis, Courtney and Curtley. Now that's a good average, but it's not the average of our best since Bradman.

  • Nathan Collins on December 15, 2006, 18:56 GMT

    I'm not sure whether one could say there's a fair amount of daylight to number 3. Ponting does have a remarkable average at the moment and has tapped into a rich vein of form. But, Greg Chappell did average nearly 54 and he batted against superior attacks during his career to those Ponting has generally faced. For instance, there's not an English bowler in this current line-up that would even make their All-Time Second XI. Fact.

  • Al on December 13, 2006, 1:14 GMT

    A former first-class player on the other side of Martyn: http://www.theage.com.au/news/columns/martyns-farewell-showed-a-lack-of-care/2006/12/11/1165685616344.html

  • Jaswant Singh on December 11, 2006, 21:21 GMT

    Now that Martyn has been pushed into retirement,the selectors and some armchair pundits will start howling for Langer's blood,and then for Hayden's.

    How many know that Martyn,Hayden and Langer all have better averages than Boon (sickening to watch with a foul mouth to boot) and Mark Waugh.Does anyone remember how Mark Waugh scored 4 consecutive zeroes in Sri Lanka. I believe the year was 1992.

    Selectors are an amazing breed . Reading cricket history I recall that Barrington had to fight for his test place for England but not Cowdrey. Barrington retired due to a heart condition with a test average of 58 plus, the second highest all time for England.

    On the other hand bogus cricketers like Faroukh Engineer were raised to the heavens by dumb selectors. Engineer, having dropped a record number of catches for Mumbai and India ( read Gawaskar) went on to play for a World Eleven;unfortunately no one kept a track of catches he dropped in this exalted capacity.

    How many know that bot

  • luke on December 11, 2006, 20:21 GMT

    One Western Australian for another hey? not wanting to add fuel to your interstate debate! lets hope Voges can in time can take up the mantle left by Damien Martyn, but one thing for sure is he would have a lot to live up to. I've grown up in Yorkshire where people see lancastrians as the old enemy, nevermind Australians; Damien Martyn has been my batting idol since the 2001 ahes tour, however i will always remember him most fondly for his 230 odd in about 2 sessions for yorkshire a few years back, as well as a century he made for WA i saw on holiday in perth from my early childhood! Perhaps it was just that legendary square drive or the uppercut!

  • dharmendra on December 11, 2006, 11:25 GMT

    I was too shock when i heard the saddest news that one of my favourite player martyn retiered. I cannot beieve even today how would aguy like martyn can retire?I think it just a pressure to martyn to retire. Anyway no problem martyn is my icon i will always praise him where could he be.Atlast congratulation to martyn for a great success cricket carrer and we can see him in this field working .

  • marcus on December 11, 2006, 7:23 GMT

    Victorian Hero

    Please, there's no need to be petty. Everyone here likes both M. Waugh and Martyn, including me, so that presumably means that we're all the joint stupidest cricket fans around?

    As for your other comments, Martyn and Mark Waugh may have gotten out to a lot of "soft" dismissals; in other words, they went out playing their shots. That doesn't mean they weren't committed. Martyn averaged over 50 before the Ashes, and Waugh played over a hundred CONSECUTIVE tests, and did damned well in them too. Basically your problem with them is that they made it look easy, and didn't care about their averages. If you can't tell the difference between THAT and not caring, then you probably shouldn't be calling anyone an idiot.

  • billy on December 11, 2006, 6:29 GMT

    martyn meh he wasn't as great as you all say

  • daniel on December 11, 2006, 4:58 GMT

    how would a guy like martyn just retire, out of the blue? he must have been hinted, he was being left out of the Perth test? and i think it takes a brave man, to retire before being dropped..he has realised that he isnt enjoying it, or finding form, and has taken a big step in retiring! good on him..it opens a spot in the team for the likes of a young Voges who will be a superstar, or opens the spot for the all rounder symonds or watson later down the track..which then would keep the younger Clarke in the team, and make the aussies a better side!!

  • Darren-18 on December 11, 2006, 4:29 GMT

    Im not going to sit here and compare marto to any other player because i think he was in a class of his own. He has always been my favourite cricketer and also sportsman, he will be greatly missed i will never admire another sportsman like i did martyn. Good luck marto and thanks for the great cricket you played and made it look so easy

  • Elliott on December 11, 2006, 1:55 GMT

    Martyn was a more talented player as ponting as a youngster, but the reason that Ponting dominated against lower quality opponents brings Ponting into all the highlights, where as Martyn could play in any conditions and when they need him, he would put up a spectacular innings, e.g. India and sri lanka countless times, vs bangladesh. etc. I had no doubt that Australia would win after england got bowled out on tuesday in adelaide. and he was doing the right thing, stepping up the run rate. We will never see a player like him. He dominated as a schoolboy when his talent was all he needed. when hes gone we will realise how good he actually is. When he gets out, it isnt his fault, its the balls fault. even when he gets a low score. the would have been a glorious stroke in that innings. he is never out of form, its just that he unluckily got out. Good luck marto. Thanks for everything.

  • Chris Camp on December 11, 2006, 1:06 GMT

    Congratulations to Damien Martyn on a wonderful career. From showing early promise to being unfairly banished for that collapse against South Africa in January 1994, to a wonderful comeback in New Zealand in February 2000 and beyond. Firstly, what people should remember, with that test in Sydney when he played that cover drive, was that Steve Waugh had injured a hamstring a month earlier and once fit was always going to replace Martyn for the next test in Adelaide. People should always remember most of the great batsman get dropped early in their careers and Martyn needed to make changes to succeed at the top level, which he did with distinction. His batting, along with Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke, were the reasons we won both series in Sri Lanka and India in 2004. He was wonderful to watch, his cover driving and square cutting were magnificent, but he could play all the strokes. He was also a wonderful one day player, he saved Australia on many occasions and noone should forget the World Cup final of 2003, when he played with a broken finger to make an unbeaten 88 to help Ricky Ponting set India a phenomenal total and claim their second consecutive World Cup. Honestly, I think it was the right time for him to go, he wasn't 110% motivated anymore and for a player like him, who has such a great flair and eye, will not succeed if his mind is elsewhere. There is a case to say he shouldn't have been recalled in South Africa, considering the man he replaced, Brad Hodge, had scored a double century in Perth, only two tests before it. But I'm glad he did, as he showed one more time what a matchwinner he is with his century in Johannesburg to get us home. But to answer a previous claim that he was a finer player than Ricky Ponting, is unbelievable, as Ponting is the best player in the world at the moment and probably our finest aside from Bradman. Ever since the series in India in 2001, Ponting's record has been phenomenal. You can certainly say that Martyn had a much better record in India and Sri Lanka than Ponting, no question, but other than that Ponting has more than excelled everywhere else, his record speaks for itself. I am sure that if Ponting could have a full series in both India and Sri Lanka, he would prove what a wonderful player of spin he is and confront and succeed in his final frontier as far as a complete batsman goes. But congratulations again to a Damien Martyn, a wonderful player in a wonderful era of Australian cricket.

  • Todd on December 11, 2006, 1:02 GMT

    I can't believe that Phil Jaques wasn't put into the test team! I mean sure Adam Voges is batting well at the moment but Jaques belted two centuries against the poms less then a month ago, for god sake the guy averages 58 in first class cricket! i really think that we are wasting his talent. Shame on you selectors!!

  • The Big Ship on December 10, 2006, 23:03 GMT

    Yes - he was a sterling batsman and his efforts in maintaining Australian crickets place at the top were / are / have been underrated. But why did he come back? Did the selectors want to give him one more chance after his years of service? Was he really a better option than Jacques? The days of the farewell test or farewell series finished when test cricketers began to get paid in the high six figures. Its a business, and Martyn hanging about has cost another player the chance to realise the years of hard work and sacrifice. I applaud Damien leaving on his own terms but slap the selectors over the wrist for bringing him back in the first place. Imagine if Hussey had of got his chance to play for the country a couple of years ago?

  • Mike on December 10, 2006, 19:54 GMT

    One of the best series to have seen would have been the 2001 Ashes. Both Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn at their peak, and gosh, their style was beautiful. Both were big favorites mine, and I hope everything goes well for Martyn post-cricket.

  • EnglishHooligan on December 10, 2006, 18:45 GMT

    Martyn pays the price for PUSHING the BCCI chief and Indian politicians from the podium during champions trophy presentation

  • bobkat on December 10, 2006, 16:18 GMT

    Marto.......silk in flannels.......go your way, always.

  • chandrasekar on December 10, 2006, 15:15 GMT

    Well done martn, u have not undone the good work of your past by carrying on. May be you sensed the situaion better. Being a great fan of yours, the decision to quit saddens me but the memories of your bat carreessing the ball past through he covers will remain etched in our memories forever.

    Good luck Daien Martyn, champion criciketer in his own graceful right

  • NumptyNick on December 10, 2006, 14:58 GMT

    Crikey guys....he ain't dead! Marto - thanksfor the memories, enjoy your retirement at the equestrian events bro! If my missus looked that good in jodphers and a riding hat I'd not play cricket eithermate!!

  • Al on December 10, 2006, 13:47 GMT

    For all Martyn's class, no one has asked why he would leave in the middle of a hugely important series when he was guaranteed a spot. What was the worst-case scenario? He has a bad test in Perth but bows out on his home ground. Instead, the only conclusion he has left us to make is that he acted selfishly, perhaps weakly, and bolted without telling his team-mates. It all adds to the image of an enormously gifted young batsman who failed to mature when his abilities were tested at the highest level, turning him into insecure man who had a too many lazy dismissals.

  • Kim Loughran on December 10, 2006, 13:42 GMT

    There's an irritating factor in Martyn's retirement, not connected uniquely to Martyn. Talk of "100% commitment" is somehow meant to look slack compared to "one billion percent commitment". Where does that lead us? Certainly not to understanding anything about commitment. Maybe to spotting which players are just mouthing nonsensities. Is someone who says he is 100% committed more realistic than someone who says 110% committed or is he less dedicated? What does anything above 100% actually mean? That you would sacrifice your cat? Your family? Good for Damien Martyn, opting to stop the world when the hype got too insane. Enjoy your family, Marto. He's twigged that cricket's just a game.

  • HQ on December 10, 2006, 13:16 GMT

    Graceful exit by a graceful player.

    I've always strongly felt that Marto was one of the most underrated players in the Australian side. He got us through the sub-continent and played some of the most gutsy and determined innings I'll ever see. Yet so many people seem to forget what he did in the tough times.

    In fact, he's the quickiest to be made a scapegoat every single time despite all he's given. Everyone seemed to forget the once unconquered sub-continent. Everyone seemed to forget he bailed Australia out of trouble in South Africa not so long ago. Oh, and the ICC Champions Trophy. But three failures down, people stop giving him a fair go.

    Clarke hardly deserved to be in the team at all in the first place. Yet he scores one century and everyone's on his bandwagon again. Hodge was dropped for not making runs in 1st class cricket. Clarke didn't make many himself before getting called up.

    Anyway, while Marto's been hard done by, he's gone out on his own terms. And while many will remember him for the classy player he was, I'll not forget how he reinvented himself into a gutsy player that Australia could depend on in their glory years.

  • Sambo on December 10, 2006, 13:15 GMT

    After observing the performances of Andrew Symonds at the 2003 World Cup and Damien Martyn almost single-handedly carry Australia through some tough sub-continental tests I have given up second-guessing selection decisions. Thanks for the good times and good luck with the rest of your life Damien.

  • Andrew on December 10, 2006, 12:00 GMT

    In response to Andrew Schultz: WA may well be at the bottom of the Pura Cup table but that's not a reason to rubbish the batting abilities of their players. It is without a doubt that the weakest point of their team is their bowling, and this is why they are yet to win a match this season. Check out the leading batting averages in the competition so far this season - Voges, Katich, Ronchi, Rogers and North: 4 out of 5 are from WA. In saying that, I expected Rogers or North to receive a call up before Voges...

    Farewell Marto, enjoy Hawaii!!

  • victorian hero on December 10, 2006, 11:23 GMT

    I Have never been a Damien Martyn fan for 1 big reason. He never stepped up when the pressure was on! (apart from the tour to india 2-3 years ago)I would havta say that 'Rumman' is one was one of the stupidest cricket followers goin around if he likes martyn and mark waugh because waugh was exactly the same! Martyn may have been a majestic player to watch, but his commitment when the chips were down will always remain his downfall, Much the same as why Mark waugh will never be regarded as highly as his brother!

  • Brett on December 10, 2006, 11:01 GMT

    I believe all batting positions in the top six are specialist positions. I'm not in favour of shifting a batsman up the order simply because a player has retired. I feel Hussey is a classic number 5 and is proving it. He's like Steve Waugh, only slightly better dressed. Hussey stays at five.

    If Hussey is 'Mr Cricket', then Ponting is 'Mr Three'. He is THE perfect first drop. Ponting stays at three.

    The qualities a number four require are a mix of 3 & 5. Number four is the glue in the batting order. Sometimes he's going to look all class, and sometimes like an a***. And more often than not if things go bad he will be blamed for not holding it together. M. Waugh & D. Martyn definitely fall into this catagory.

    Who is the next number four? Whoever he is, I hope he can bat like Martyn and fight like hell 'cause he's going to cop plenty!

    For what it's worth, I would pick ...oh I dunno...ahhhm...COME BACK MARTO!!!

  • Reece on December 10, 2006, 10:58 GMT

    marto u are a true legend, an inspiration, a classy player. u were treated poorly by the media and selectors which is a shame because u are one of the best. u made cricket interesting to me and i thank u for that. goodluck for whatever u do in the future mate. have fun champ.

  • Don on December 10, 2006, 10:44 GMT

    Setting aside the accolades - richly deserved - there is a far more important matter here. Ian Chappell said it well - knowing when to walk away. It has happened recently with our State Cricketer of the Year Boof Lehman, who vacated his test spot in order that the rising talent of Clarke be given a fair shot. Now Martyn is doing the same knowing there is plenty of competition for the number 4 spot. Marto did Cricket Australia a service in many regards. Walking away now, with the series virtually in the bag, adds no pressure on the other players. He also divides the much spoken of "retirement date" when 4 other players will be leaving the team virtually together (Langer, Hayden, Gilchrist and McGrath). Losing 5 at the same was the major headache for the selectors. Now it's just down to 4 (and maybe 3 if, as some speculations claim, Langer will anounce his retirement from the test team after the ashes).

    I agree that Jaques name is in the running - but not for this series. Jaques is a natural opener and has not done that well in the matches he played down the order. Jaques will likely become half of the new test opening partnership with Hussey in 6 months time. Until then, the search is on for not one, but two middle order replacements. Let's have a look at what Martyn's act reminds us - the future of the test team. Marto has vacated number 4 and Clarke is likely to occupy it. Hussey will open with Jaques, meaning we need a 5 and a 6. Assuming 6 will be Watson (or possibly a hard hitting White?) will Cosgrove be the new 5? Adam Voges? How about a rising youngster like Shaun Marsh? At any rate it will probably not be Symonds. Too bad. Roy, Roy, Roy...

  • Tony on December 10, 2006, 10:13 GMT

    In reply to the following : Posted by: andrew schulz 7 hours, 5 minutes ago

    In response to Mark: Australia do not often pick people who have scored 54 runs in their last 6 first-class innings. Jaques has a lot of runs in 1-day cricket, but must be well down the list for a Test call-up now. Then again, they'll probably just keep picking players from the two bottom pura cup sides of last season, NSW and WA.

    NSW was leading the pura comp last season before our bowling attack was decimated by their selection in the Aussie one day team and subsequent tour of south africa --regularly replacing pidge and binga is bad enougth but when you add Bracks ,clarky and magilla to that it is imposible --look at the big picture .

    now onto to Marto -- certainly one of the easiest batsman to watch even when not in form . he made batting look very easy . Well done on going out on your own terms .

  • Jehan on December 10, 2006, 10:09 GMT

    Martyn, a great player of spin, one who never that badly, not deserving of his dropping and i admire him for jumping before he was pushed.

    I for one cannot believe the selectors some what ignorance in naming Simon Katich, once a man touted as a future captain of Australia by Steve Waugh, scoring consitent scores in Pura Cup and Ford Ranger Cup, was undeservidly dropped after England were half his bad scores were from pathetic umpiring, and has not been given a look in so far. I hope his day will come again.

  • ben on December 10, 2006, 9:56 GMT

    Marto is and was an absolute champion cricketer and bloke. He graced our tv screens and cricket fields will distinction, and will go down as one of the most elegant batsmen we will see. As for the fool who had the hide to mention his record in the failed 2005 ashes, you need to look at how many dodgy calls he alone copped in that series. He also fails to mention the long wait, when he was in probably career form, he had to endure just to get back into the test team. The best example was when he scored hundred after hundred filling in for an injured Ricky Ponting and who ever else was out, only to make way when that player was fit again.And he made way with limited fuss from himself and the media, which is funny because had the selectors dropped Michael Clarke for this Perth test, the media would have been all over it. Anyway enough of that. Marto will always be remembered by this cricket lover as a man of few words but of many runs. Good lick Marto in whatever your future holds

  • SA on December 10, 2006, 9:54 GMT

    Mark Waugh was the reason i fell in love with this game .. he was the player i impersonated , imitated and got inspired by !!

    If there was any player who had come close to giving me the same 3 I's like how Junior did , it was Damien Martyn ! What a classact .. Take out the likes of Sachin , Dravid - i dont think any other batsman in my Indian team that are fit to lace Martyn's boots ! To think about his vital contribution time and time again in Australia being the number 1 team for decades now , He epotimizes what team work is all about ! Individual records count for nothing as martyn's 5000 Odd runs in the ODI and 4000 runs in the test are more valuable than most of the cummulative amount put together by some of the Batsman in the Indian team now . Im just stating this comparison to prove how under rated players like Martyn and their contributions to the greatest side ever in both forms of the game is !! I cant begin to think how much i would be praising Martyn if ever he was a part of an Indian side which dominated world cricket !

    I had the pleasure of watching him fight the torrid Sun Rays of the Chennai heat with his Mint like batting . Literally , i didnt feel the heat one bit as i was so engrossed just like 40000 people on the 4th day when Martyn on end showed us how much hard work ,effort and a blessing is required for one to make so many around the world not take their eye away from his batting !

    The way he held the bat's handle actually says so much about his character even though i felt that he was mis-conceived by that Pawar Incident . Such a gentle natured guy who maintained a neat image on and off the pitch

    Im going to make sure that i sit n watch every Oz Odi game here after till Martyn retires from that form of the game as well .. as i sincerely doubt if we would ever see Classy players like em again atleast for the time being in world cricket ! Losing Mark Waugh was a big blow to me as a fan , I stopped watching cricket lil bit then .. but Martyn's emergence added the beauty i thought cricket lost !! Now , im really hoping that an Indian would fill in Martyn's void as a classact who was a treat to watch and admire !

  • michael on December 10, 2006, 8:45 GMT

    I have been watching cricket for many years and its sad to see the greats retiring like the waughs, lehmanm martyn. One of crickets greatest ever eras is coming to an end. now its time to see how the next generation will stand up

  • Mitch on December 10, 2006, 8:33 GMT

    Great Career and Great batsmen... My childhood hero... I even became nervous when he was batting... When you got sropped i lost interest in Australian Cricket... Now that you have retired i dont no what will happen.. Good luck in life mate thanks for making cricket better for myself

  • eram saber on December 10, 2006, 6:42 GMT

    Comparing Mohammed Yousuf (we'll c how he fares in South Africa)..with the likes of Carl Hooper, Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn... shhsish... the bloke must be out of his mind.. Mark Martyn Hooper are the greatest of charmers of the history of the game.. And it's saddening each of them had to go the way they did... Cricket is such an unjustly B*stard game..:|

  • Venky on December 10, 2006, 6:31 GMT

    Damien is a true legend and a champion. He clocks a test average of 45+ and a one day average of 40+. (1)To put things in perspective , his record is better than the records of Mark Taylor, David Boon and Mark Waugh - all legends. (2)As mentioned by someone else in this comment section, if we rewind to 2004, Australia's big series was against India and India and not the Ashes. People just need to look up the scores to see that Australia wouldn't have won the trophy withput Marto. Also, they would not have won the champions trophy without Marto. (3)Class is permanent and form is temporary. If you exclude Bangladesh, Marto just had 3 bad innings ( and in one of this, he sacrificed his wicket for a team cause - Adelaide, 2nd innings). Illustrious cricketers like Viv Richards, Sachin, Ponting himself ( check out his record in India),Gilly,Hayden, all have had longer bad patches than Marto. Yet,with teh possible exception of JL, no other great player has had been criticized so much for 3 or 3 low scores . It broke my heart that Marto had to go this way. Idiots like Geoff Lawson and otehr stupid arm chair cricket writers are vicious, mean and use statistics to confuse and cloud the real picture. All Marto critics must have had an axe to grind against him. Anyway, it is all over now. Good luck Marto , may you be at peace and enjoy whatever it is that you intend to do from now on. You are a legend.

  • Venky on December 10, 2006, 6:29 GMT

    Damien is a true legend and a champion. He clocks a test average of 45+ and a one day average of 40+. (1)To put things in perspective , his record is better than the records of Mark Taylor, David Boon and Mark Waugh - all legends. (2)As mentioned by someone else in this comment section, if we rewind to 2004, Australia's big series was against India and India and not the Ashes. People just need to look up the scores to see that Australia wouldn't have won the trophy withput Marto. Also, they would not have won the champions trophy without Marto. (3)Class is permanent and form is temporary. If you exclude Bangladesh, Marto just had 3 bad innings ( and in one of this, he sacrificed his wicket for a team cause - Adelaide, 2nd innings). Illustrious cricketers like Viv Richards, Sachin, Ponting himself ( check out his record in India),Gilly,Hayden, all have had longer bad patches than Marto. Yet,with teh possible exception of JL, no other great player has had been criticized so much for 3 or 3 low scores . It broke my heart that Marto had to go this way. Idiots like Geoff Lawson and otehr stupid arm chair cricket writers are vicious, mean and use statistics to confuse and cloud the real picture. All Marto critics must have had an axe to grind against him. Anyway, it is all over now. Good luck Marto , may you be at peace and enjoy whatever it is that you intend to do from now on. You are a legend.

  • Venky on December 10, 2006, 6:25 GMT

    Damien is a true legend and a champion. He clocks a test average of 45+ and a one day average of 40+. (1)To put things in perspective , his record is better than the records of Mark Taylor, David Boon and Mark Waugh - all legends. (2)As mentioned by someone else in this comment section, if we rewind to 2004, Australia's big series was against India and India and not the Ashes. People just need to look up the scores to see that Australia wouldn't have won the trophy withput Marto. Also, they would not have won the champions trophy without Marto. (3)Class is permanent and form is temporary. If you exclude Bangladesh, Marto just had 3 bad innings ( and in one of this, he sacrificed his wicket for a team cause - Adelaide, 2nd innings). Illustrious cricketers like Viv Richards, Sachin, Ponting himself ( check out his record in India),Gilly,Hayden, all have had longer bad patches than Marto. Yet,with teh possible exception of JL, no other great player has had been criticized so much for 3 or 3 low scores . It broke my heart that Marto had to go this way. Idiots like Geoff Lawson and otehr stupid arm chair cricket writers are vicious, mean and use statistics to confuse and cloud the real picture. All Marto critics must have had an axe to grind against him. Anyway, it is all over now. Good luck Marto , may you be at peace and enjoy whatever it is that you intend to do from now on. You are a legend.

  • Venky on December 10, 2006, 6:14 GMT

    Damien is a true legend and a champion. He clocks a test average of 45+ and a one day average of 40+. (1)To put things in perspective , his record is better than the records of Mark Taylor, David Boon and Mark Waugh - all legends. (2)As mentioned by someone else in this comment section, if we rewind to 2004, Australia's big series was against India and India and not the Ashes. People just need to look up the scores to see that Australia wouldn't have won the trophy withput Marto. Also, they would not have won the champions trophy without Marto. (3)Class is permanent and form is temporary. If you exclude Bangladesh, Marto just had 3 bad innings ( and in one of this, he sacrificed his wicket for a team cause - Adelaide, 2nd innings). Illustrious cricketers like Viv Richards, Sachin, Ponting himself ( check out his record in India),Gilly,Hayden, all have had longer bad patches than Marto. Yet,with teh possible exception of JL, no other great player has had been criticized so much for 3 or 3 low scores . It broke my heart that Marto had to go this way. arm chair cricket writers are vicious, mean and use statistics to confuse and cloud the real picture. All Marto critics must have had an axe to grind against him. Anyway, it is all over now. Good luck Marto , may you be at peace and enjoy whatever it is that you intend to do from now on. You are a legend.

  • uditha namal on December 10, 2006, 5:23 GMT

    MARTO, U r a true champion,A great entatainer.And a homest man wishing u a very best mate.

  • Cat on December 10, 2006, 4:56 GMT

    Just like a good umpire, when watching cricket and you never get annoyed as the good ones just "get on with it", Martyn was this as a batsman. You just watched and saw it, enjoyed his batting in its regal splendour. As a player, the hardest shot is through the off side, this guy played the off-side shots with ease and with what seemed no effort. Yes, class in cricket is everything, this guy had it, on the field he showed us all. Well done Sir!

  • marcus on December 10, 2006, 4:14 GMT

    Imagine if Martyn and Mark Waugh played more together! It is a pity he's gone. Belikegilchrist, right on, in terms of sheer class Martyn is easily better than Ponting.

    As for CJ- Ponting is our second best ever? There's such a huge pool of batting talent (The Waugh brothers, the Chappells, Harvey, O'Neil, McCabe, Trumper, Walters, Morris, Simpson, Border, Gilchrist, Macartney) that you can't definitively state that Ponting is the second best ever. If I had to pick one, I'd say Greg Chappell (who I've seen little of, unfortunately) because he made his runs against vastly superior bowling than there is today. As for playing with a broken thumb, Ponting has played 8 tests in India-that's two whole series- and still barely broke into double figures.

  • Luke Lowden on December 10, 2006, 3:35 GMT

    Im 15 years old now and marto has been my favourite player for 8 years now. A joy to watch and was always so elegant. He will be sorely missed by all that love cricket

  • matty on December 10, 2006, 3:25 GMT

    i hope the aussie media is happy now they finally got right of marto but i also hope they have tears in the eyes after they realise wat there missing out on, like when they go 2 perth next week and they having nothin good 2 look at at the cricket coz of damians absence in the australian line up. we also have to wonder why half of australia was always on his back 2 be dropped was it coz he didnt send msgs 2 prostitutes all get drunk the night before a game or sledge his head off on the field. it really does make u wounder how u can hate some one so quite and simple when it came 2 his life as a person and cricketer all the best mardo

  • Fran Barlow on December 10, 2006, 2:57 GMT

    Martyn was one of the nicer fellows about the team, and in his pomp, a very graceful batsman -- a little like MEW.

    Sadly, he was past his best by the time of the last Ashes tour, and although he got a rough decision or two, he never really looked like scoring runs. He was a passenger on that tour as he was until the other day. And I never saw anyone who looked more likely to be involved in a run out than him, so for his sake, I'm glad he pulled the plug.

    I wish him well though because he gave me many enjoyable moments when he was near his peak.

    Fran

  • andrew schulz on December 10, 2006, 2:36 GMT

    In response to Mark: Australia do not often pick people who have scored 54 runs in their last 6 first-class innings. Jaques has a lot of runs in 1-day cricket, but must be well down the list for a Test call-up now. Then again, they'll probably just keep picking players from the two bottom pura cup sides of last season, NSW and WA.

  • Valley Thol on December 10, 2006, 1:57 GMT

    the moment Hussey came out to bat in the second innings, one got the sense that it was over for Martyn. No doubt, he had a good career, and unlike several other good players, lived up quite a bit to his potential. It was time, and his decision is timely.

  • JoJo on December 10, 2006, 1:57 GMT

    haha. saw you on offsiders today gideon, john harms is an idiot, who gave him the authority to talk about cricket! Phil Jaques was't considered because he's an opener, not because he doesn't have ticker! God I feel like punching that moron!!!

  • AussieBill on December 10, 2006, 0:07 GMT

    Nice work on Offsiders, Gideon. Shouldve shot John Harms down with a verbal slap across the couch for his attempt at rubbishing Phil Jacques for no reason.

  • Scott on December 9, 2006, 23:44 GMT

    Damien Martyn is a true legend. I wish him well for the future and he will be missed by many!

  • the carrot on December 9, 2006, 23:26 GMT

    Of course there is a thread running through here of the comparison between Marto and Mark Waugh. What hasn't been mentioned is that Junior also suffered gentle rebukes from the critics for perceived laziness in his batting. Of course his situation was even worse because he was expected to perform much closer to the level of his less graceful brother who just happened to be probably the most determined and disciplined player to have existed. It seems that it is just as dangerous as it is glorious to have the gift of being 'easy on the eye'. Marto will live in my memory alongside Junior, Gower and Azharrudin. I don't remember any of their stats, I just remember that it felt good to watch them make look simple and elegant what all would-be cricketers know to be excruciatingly difficult. That is, to make a mountain of runs against the best bowlers in the world. Best of luck Marto.

  • Anonymous on December 9, 2006, 23:25 GMT

    Of course there is a thread running through here of the comparison between Marto and Mark Waugh. What hasn't been mentioned is that Junior also suffered gentle rebukes from the critics for perceived laziness in his batting. Of course his situation was even worse because he was expected to perform much closer to the level of his less graceful brother who just happened to be probably the most determined and disciplined player to have existed. It seems that it is just as dangerous as it is glorious to have the gift of being 'easy on the eye'. Marto will live in my memory alongside Junior, Gower and Azharrudin. I don't remember any of their stats, I just remember that it felt good to watch them make look simple and elegant what all would-be cricketers know to be excruciatingly difficult. That is, to make a mountain of runs against the best bowlers in the world. Best of luck Marto.

  • UMW on December 9, 2006, 21:23 GMT

    gilchrist shouldn't be put in the same category as pieterson or sehwag. gilchrist always plays classical strokes, and improvises only when he really needs to. the other 2 dont play many classical looking strokes at all.

    of course gilchrist's batting doesn't look as poetical as martyn's, but is certainly doesn't look anything like pieterson or sehwag.

  • Geoff Read on December 9, 2006, 20:04 GMT

    All those who demanded the axing of Damien Martyn can go and crow now that he has decided to retire. Those same people can also go and suck eggs. At least he had the grace to go out on his terms and all credit to him.

    This bloke was one of the all time greats (check his batting record against other supposed cricketing giants). He is one of only two players, the other Mark Waugh, that I would, as they say "pay to watch" in recent times. He made us of very average talent look like we batted with a telephone pole. I was envious of the way he played the ball from third man to mid on with almost the same footwork and stroke. His style will be sorely missed.

  • Jaswant Singh on December 9, 2006, 20:01 GMT

    I was very sad to read about Martyn's retirement. Easily in the top 10 batsmen in the world, when in good form,he should have played at least 100 test matches.

    I also wonder how much damage was caused to careers of players like Lehman,Love, Hussey and many others by Boon and the Waugh brothers playing way after their abilities were impaired by age and time.

  • Dwight on December 9, 2006, 17:52 GMT

    One of the better Aussie batsmen of his era, and when it comes to being easy on the eyes he is up there with the likes of Carl Hooper,Mark Waugh, and Mohammed Yousuf.

  • Sonu on December 9, 2006, 16:57 GMT

    Martyn, you were an awesome player and it was very sad to hear that you have retired.You were my 2nd favourite player after SC Ganguly.Your cricketing career was excellent and people all around the globe enjoyed you playing. Have a bright future ...

  • Hemi on December 9, 2006, 16:44 GMT

    Au Revoir Marto man.

    You conquered Indian pitches and were not just flat Australian pitch bully and that endeared you to Indian fan. Another "star" from your team was made into tears in 2001 and he feigned injury the last time round in India to hold on to his spot while you took the team on your shoulder in the final frontier and won. Good luck mate ..you were truly the unsung hero of your team.

  • Prahlad D N on December 9, 2006, 16:27 GMT

    This is with ref to K S Rajashekhar's remarks. I grew up watching GRV and I think it is not right to compare either M Waugh or D Martyn with him. Perhaps the closest would be a clipping I saw of F Worrell. All the batsmen mentioned are great players in their own right. It is overromanticising if someone thinks D Martyn was ahead of GRV or Zed. Good luck D Martyn for the future.

  • Dutch on December 9, 2006, 16:24 GMT

    Duke said: "Damien Martyn was the asthetic nadir of batsmanship."

    Presumably 'zenith'?

  • Paul on December 9, 2006, 15:40 GMT

    I wish I could bat like you Marto!! Congratulations on a great career & inspiring so many of us

  • chiyo on December 9, 2006, 14:53 GMT

    Martyn's retirement has prompted many of us to write in and put in their 'two bits' worth. Ofcourse I am deeply disappointed... and would have loved to see him depart the test arena after playing in front of his home crowd. But the measure of a man is in the decisions he makes... by taking this extreme step Martyn has shown grace under pressure... he could have been selfish and had his final 'hurrah' by announcing that the next test would be his last for his country. Then; he could have been assured of a standing ovation when he walked out to bat; his team-mates would have let him lead them out onto the field in deference to the yeoman service he has rendered his country in so many campaigns. Yet he chose not to go down this path; typical of the man and the player. He chose to leave (in the words of Vijay Merchant ex-Indian captain and Chairman of Selectors) when people were sure to ask the question "Why?" and not "Why not?". When he played 'those' two shots in his final innings in Adelaide... he went out in a blaze of glory. The first shot was entirely out of character for him... but in tune with what was needed of him at that stage of the game. However the manner in which he got out must have divided cricket lovers of all backgrounds; Martyn fans must have groaned in dismay saying "how could he do this to us again?" and his detractors: "there he goes again, flashing outside his off stump - I told you so -the most over-rated batsman in the country". But that was the innate charm of this batsman... he was not a labourer.... toiling away in the sun.... he was an artist who painted a picture for all of us to enjoy and remember even after we had left the scene of his deeds. This is what good books, good music, or a work of art does to the human soul. It is also the magic of sport and the sublime skill of an exponent skilled in its arts... to grab you by the throat and thrill you to the core. You are left wondering: "how on earth is this possible?". It is poetry in motion.... the bat taming the ball/bowler without even seeming to make any effort.

    Having spent a long time in Japan; it was interesting to see the whole country go crazy for ONE WEEK during spring season... the time when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The blooms are white or pink and the entire scene is like gazing at a postcard. Everyone goes "ga-ga"; its like nothing else matters... people mark out and reserve spots early in the morning so that they can sit under the cherry blossoms after they have finished work for the day. They enjoy karaoke, drink sake/beer/wine and make merry forgetting all their stress and worry. It is because the life-span of the cherry blossoms (Sakura) IS ONLY ONE WEEK; then it is all over and they have to wait till next spring.

    But the Japanese are lucky; they have four distinct seasons and spring will always follow winter... but what about us? For sure there will be batsmen who will belt the ball all over the park; there will be run-accumulators; there will be some who can only bat well in certain conditions or against certain types of bowlers and then there will be some who bore the life out of those watching the game.... but the one certainty is: There will not be another Damien Martyn!!! We will miss him.....

  • Alex on December 9, 2006, 14:47 GMT

    I can't believe no one has mentioned Damo's superb yet subtle contribution the off-circuit sport. I'm talking about that fabulous participation game of 'Marto's Missus'. The cricket dinners and gala event will not be the same without the yardsticks themselves in attendance. Damien, you've given us some amazing 'pulls' in your career - but that has to be one of the best shots in your bag. ;)

    Like many, I'm sorry to see you hang up your jock strap.

    'Marto's Cricket is Dead! Long Live Marto's Cricket!!'

  • digger on December 9, 2006, 14:39 GMT

    More retirements and sackings will emanate within the Oz team in 07/08, but Martyn's abscence will be keenly felt by the purists most. Ponting has lost a great aid in rescuing the teams position, now Clarke and Hussey must rise to the occasion, of which there have been many these past years.

  • Piyu on December 9, 2006, 14:32 GMT

    Yes, I agree with you. Gidgeon Haigh writes such good stuff, I wonder why he does not get more comments

  • Nanda Kishore on December 9, 2006, 14:28 GMT

    My abiding memory of Martyn will remain the finals of the 2003 World Cup. Even though his innings was overshadowed by the savagery of Ponting's assault, Martyn collected runs effortlessly at the rate of knots. It typified the way Martyn always played, and you never felt that he was type who would tear apart an attack, but in his own way he could.

  • juddster on December 9, 2006, 14:20 GMT

    to all aussie fans, cast your mind back to before we lost the ashes in 05. the ashes as a contest had lost most of their lustre and the final frontier was to win a series in india. anyone with a reasonable memory will recall just how huge this task was. now go and look up the scores from each of the tests in that last indian series. marto's contribution to the conquering of this final frontier is right up there with steve waugh's back in 95 in conquering the windies away - just as huge a feat at the time.

    i cannot recall a more polarising player than marto - maybe steve waugh in 91-92 had as many critics as admirers.

    it takes a whole lot of honesty to walk away from a massive contract...how many of us would do the same voluntarily? how many cricketers have done so in the age of big money? there aren't many names that spring to mind.

    enjoy retirement marto and thanks for all the memories. wc final 2003 - that lofted 4 over extra cover which paled next to punter's 8 sixes but was the sweetest timed inside-out i've ever seen.

  • Richo on December 9, 2006, 14:03 GMT

    It is a shame that recent polls from the public suggested he should be dropped. Who knows whether this was a contributing factor to which Marto decided to retire. Best of luck mate, you were a pleasure to watch. I'll remember your come back 20/20 match when you dominated to silence the critics along with your World Cup knock with the broken thumb. I hope the Australia cricket public takes a look at themselves before openly criticising players - remember only a month ago he was our best player and ensured we won the Champions Trophy in difficult conditions.

  • r.gopal on December 9, 2006, 13:48 GMT

    I really miss martyn for his stylish game and it became a rude shock about his retirement. It will be a greatloss to pontings aide as said by ponting. Aussies will be missing him in ondays and also as an admirer of australian cricket will miss martyn for his stylish square cut and his coverdrives which used to be a beauty to watch. My best wishes to his married life and also for his future.

  • MrBaird on December 9, 2006, 13:35 GMT

    I remember playing cricket in WA ( 3rd and 4th grade WACA)in the late 1970's/early eighties when we heard of this kid playing junior cricket hitting hundreds - all the time! He then played grade cricket and quickly made his way into 1st grade - his name was Marto. Love your batting Marto - and think that your decision to go was a good one for the team as well as yourself.

  • BIG E on December 9, 2006, 13:34 GMT

    Marto, you are a true champion!! I've followed you right thru your career, the highs & the lows!! You were definately my favourite player!!Thanks for the wonderful journey man!! All the best for the future!

  • K S RAJASEKAR on December 9, 2006, 12:25 GMT

    I grew up watching G R Viswanath and I always thought No right hander could have a more stylish technique in batting since I saw Mark Waugh. But after seeing Damien batting in the sub continent, especially the way he handled the spinners, I believe he has made GRV and Mark Waugh ordinary mortals.

  • PTB Doc on December 9, 2006, 12:24 GMT

    Marto I think suffered from the fact that most of the time he looked incredibly relaxed at the crease, which made many think of him as 'lazy' or placing a low value on his wicket. What fans don't see are the years of net sessions that made it look that easy for him at the crease. The grace with which he played reminds me, like others above, so much of Mark Waugh. Someone raised a valid point about him not getting the chance to open the innings in ODI's enough. Would have been the perfect partner for Gilchrist, with no ego driven attempt to outscore him from the other end. That 80 not out Marto scored in the 2003 WC Final is a classic example. I think he beat Punter to 40 or 50, then Punter found form (well "form" isn't the right word for 8 sixes or whatever it was)and a heap of the strike and exploded to 140. Punter actually claims in his WC Diary that he told Marto he'd give him strike for the hundred but Marto refused, saying Punter was scoring at such a rate it'd be silly to waste team runs for a milestone. The initial post about why is there so few comments on Gideon's blog? Could be that not much needs to be added to his pieces. Bloody brillant as usual. And he's not the lone ranger re: Simon Katich either. Thought he was going to be the next Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn a few years back. Whilst like most, I love watching the tonky tonk of the Gilchrist's, Sehwag's and Skunkhead's (well not anymore), I also enjoy watching a truly classic strokeplayer. Backfoot cover drives and the like do stick in my head as they take a level of skill that to me is unimaginable. Will miss Marto a lot, enjoyed not only his strokeplay, but his irreverant approach to the media. His method and timing of retirement, to me anyway, fitted in perfectly with the rest of the events in his career. Congrats on both a brillant career and fitting ending.

  • rodney on December 9, 2006, 11:52 GMT

    I believe that the fact of the matter rests under his highest facial expedition which took us to places like menland.

  • Rhys on December 9, 2006, 11:48 GMT

    Class act Damo, extremely entertaining for cricket purists and had few rivals, after the retirement of Mark Waugh, at making batting look so incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately you suffered the fate of being from W.A, with the eastern states media constantly begging for the blood of any West Australian that falters the slightest bit in the national team. I cannot fathom the pressure that would come from being in that position but you handled it like the champion you are. Ill miss seeing your name at No.4.

  • Mo Thoufeeq on December 9, 2006, 11:33 GMT

    Martyn was perhaps one of the best bestmen ever. He belonged to the league of batsmen who played both forms of cricket well, his averages endorsed it. I enjoyed seeing his batting, seeing as a neutral viewer. I wish him well in the future.

  • Steve on December 9, 2006, 11:11 GMT

    I think that we should just remember Marto for his fantastic match-winning and match-saving innings in Sri Lanka and New Zealand (and others), and not dwell on the unfortunate test in 1994. He did keep out of trouble, and didn't once send an errant 'public' text message or get beaten-up in fights over transvestites ! Best of luck in the future mate !

  • Tasif Akhter on December 9, 2006, 11:00 GMT

    You are a great player. Your retirement surprised all cricket lovers in the world.

  • Duke on December 9, 2006, 10:53 GMT

    Test cricket: 4406 runs at 46.37 ODI cricket: 5346 runs at 40.80

    Excellent by any standards.

    But aggregates and averages did not define him as a cricketer. Damien Martyn was the asthetic nadir of batsmanship. He always seemed to move in slow motion - like Mark Waugh and David Gower. Even when he got out to a bad shot, he looked graceful doing it. Indeed, it was impossible for him to look inelegant or ungainly. I think it was Roebuck who commented recently that when Martyn got out, it seemed as though the ball had made a mistake, not the batsman.

    Similarly, his fielding and catching were very easy on the eye. Remember his catch in the outfield to dismiss Kevin Pietersen at Lords in 2005? His athletic ability made it look like a fairly simple catch, but in fact it was an incredibly difficult catch, swirling around in the air behind and beyond him.

    India 2004 will probably be remembered as his peak as a batsman, and England 2005 his greatest failure.

    How quickly comes the fall.

    Thankyou Damien. You made the game better for your participation in it. You gave enjoyment to millions.

  • Jay on December 9, 2006, 10:44 GMT

    And thusly does elegance exit from the Australian team.

  • mark on December 9, 2006, 9:53 GMT

    Damien Martyn was a great player, but as for him being the easiest player to the eye of his time. May i remind you of a player who retired a couple of years ago named Mark Waugh, give me a waugh hundred over a Martyn one any day.

  • Jules on December 9, 2006, 9:48 GMT

    I just want to pay tribute to my all-time favourite player and say I am so glad Gideon Haigh has mentioned the man for it is his words in a treasured article on Martyn that I feel reflect the batsman so well: ‘to call Martyn a text book batsman is not to flatter him; it is to flatter the text book.’ That was ‘Marto’ – the most gorgeous batsman I have ever witnessed play the game. He taught me what style was and made me understand that cricket cannot be measured in numbers, runs and statistics. What makes this great game so special is the unmeasurable - the beauty, the enigma, the artistry; that which Martyn possessed in spades. My favourite Martyn memory is a single shot: a back foot drive through the covers for four at the Adelaide oval during Martyn’s innings of 124* in 2001. Off Shaun Pollock’s bowling, he tip-toed seemingly invisibility into position, and then with perfect balance and timing, unfurled the most heavenly shot – a perfect stroke – Bill Lawry said probably the best you’ll ever see – and he was right. Technically perfect, yet so much more. In an age when we adore celebrating the big hitters – the Pietersons, Gilchrists and Shewags of this world – I hope we continue to appreciate the players who light up the game in a different – more subtle, gentle manner. Those are the batsman I love to watch and Martyn was my favourite of them all. Bye Marto – you will be missed.

  • ajit on December 9, 2006, 9:40 GMT

    Martyn great player with sound technique. good luck.

  • Govind on December 9, 2006, 9:16 GMT

    I guess I'll echo all that's been said above...2 Cricketers come to my mind when we talk of how easy batting is, Junior and Marto! You could see a lot of people struggle to get things going, and when these 2 were out there, it was poetry in motion. Marto, in India and Sri Lanka, showed all why the aussies needed him on board. We'll surely miss the class that he bought to the game...Good luck mate!

  • shoaib on December 9, 2006, 9:06 GMT

    he was the fantastic player on of my favourite,he was the only reason why i was so much invovled in australian cricket,the selcetors didnot do justice to him taking this in mind that he was the only player who got runs in champions trophy,he didnot score in first 2 ashes test so they drop him,u canot really judje player like damien martyn in 2 matches,he is absoultly brialliant to watch when he gets going.i wish him good luck for his future endevours.

  • UMW on December 9, 2006, 8:10 GMT

    the song "return to innocence" by enigma is what best captures damien martyn walking to the crease, unfurling those beautiful strokes irrespective of whether australia were in front or behind and making getting out look like an injustice.

  • asif ali on December 9, 2006, 7:56 GMT

    my fav damien u took a decision regarding ur retirement broke my heart u r the best however u didn't performed well in urs last test innings u r still the best after steve waugh plzzz back to aussie sight team needs u in future bigest series

  • Reece on December 9, 2006, 7:53 GMT

    Only once he is gone will the idiots see how bloody good he is....and always has been.- u couldn't be more correct mate.

  • Geoff on December 9, 2006, 7:35 GMT

    As a massive fan of Marto since the early days, today is a pretty sad day. I often had arguments with friends and relatives about his obvious talent, always proclaiming that he would add to his 7 initial test matches, all the while secretly thinking we may never get to see the man in full flight again.

    He of course did, and 13 test hundreds for Australia later I'm thrilled that we got to witness them.

    It is only a shame that we couldn't see one more in Perth. I may have even made the trip over from Sydney.

    There is no doubt in Martyn we have seen one of the most naturally gifted and gracious batsmen of our time.

    I thank Marto for the great memories and wish him well. Whilst I am a huge fan of the game, following cricket may just be a little difficult from here on in.

  • dhiraj garg on December 9, 2006, 7:27 GMT

    bravo..

  • sadath ali on December 9, 2006, 7:08 GMT

    MARTYN 'WAS''IS''WILL' BE MY FAVURITE PLAYER I CANT STOP MY TEARS AFTER HIS RETIERMENT "THE NEAT PLAYER" LOVE YOU MARTYN AND BEST OF LUCK

  • michael mitchell on December 9, 2006, 7:04 GMT

    One of the hardest things for a schoolboy prodigy to do in whatever the chosen vocation is for the youthful greatness to be tested severely in the adult world. This is Damien Martyn's other prowess. He was regarded as a shoo in certainty to do well in the elite spheres of world cricket but the modern game has ways of bringing the mighty down to earth. Therefore, Damien had to become himself in Shield and test cricket and absorb gritty determination as well as please all his childhood coaches who thought that he and his flair belonged to them. His overseers had no experience of test cricket and Damien had to forge his own combination of surviving at the crease with the magnificent ease of some of his scoring shots. Schoolboy genius would not translate into State and Test match testing and achievement.

    I think it is this gift of hard work and adaptation that he was forced to pursue which adds to his greatness. He was forced into concentration so as to eliminate the potential recklessness of his strokeplay as a younger player but still maintain and show us that he is now listed alongside the unique. He showed us that he is/was a great player who had to adapt to his own style and not strive only to please his many mentors. (This MIGHT just be why he performed so well away from home.) Thus he was able to display his genius.

  • belikegilchrist on December 9, 2006, 6:50 GMT

    Martyn may not be a better player but who can deny that he was a classier than POnting? ANybody?

  • Andrew on December 9, 2006, 6:44 GMT

    Just as Martyn was at the other end when Gilchrist scored his double century in South Africa, he scored an unbeaten half century with the tail in the second innings at Melbourne in 1992-1993 against the West Indies allowing Australia to set a sizeable total and for Warne to take his famous 7-52, bowling Richardson with the flipper. I think these inauspicious contributions sum up Martyn.

  • Desmond on December 9, 2006, 6:33 GMT

    Marto is a real damm good player...He is one of the best and will be considered an Australian legend.I met him when he came to Malaysia for the DLF One Day Tri-Series and I must say he is a nice guy and I had a pic taken with him. He talked to me me about how hungry he is wanting to get his hands on the Ashes again. I am suprised by his sudden decision but I wish him all the best. The game will miss him and Australian cricket just lost another great servant to them. I guess he is the victim of the selection by the Australian selectors. He felt being unsecured and before being push to the limit, I guess he had to make the choice to get away from all this politics. Its a new era without Martyn but I hope Symonds or whoever taking Marto's place will excel like how he did for cricket Australia.

  • Syd on December 9, 2006, 6:10 GMT

    Marto was sometimes called a 'delicate flower' or a 'cream puff' but these people don't understand how many 'backs to the wall' (as Tony grieg would say) innings he came out with. Plenty of second innings hundreds, I'll always remember him as someone who could come on and make a chanceless score in conditions that everyone else struggled in, and who looked good doing it. His hundred in SA this year the last example

    also, not counting his one Test in Bangladesh his lowest average by country is about 37 (england) and his highest about 62 (pakistan) which is a very even spread. In contrast Mohammad Yousuf averages 18 in South Africa and 147 in Bangladesh

  • Matt on December 9, 2006, 5:58 GMT

    Marto is a champion - simple as that. I think it must be soul destroying to all but those with hides as thick as rhinos the amount of rubbish the media carry on with. No doubt if Punter makes a blob this game he to will be "gone". I don't blame Marto for pulling the pin with the constant scrutiny he was under...particularly as he sounds like such a very private man. Gus Langer is another one who has had to put up with all the crap for his entire career. Only once he is gone will the idiots see how bloody good he is....and always has been.

  • sridhar on December 9, 2006, 5:58 GMT

    To someone who lives in India and watches cricket from all over the world, I can tell you one thing.Martyn is an amazing batsman and Australia has to thank him for beating India in India and winning the elusive Champions trophy.Although the Ashes may be decided by then, Martyn might have been one of the aussie batsman who could give Monty Panesar the stick in Sydney.You gave us alot of pleasure Martyn.May you be happy.

  • dwblurb on December 9, 2006, 5:45 GMT

    Thank you Gideon Haigh for pointing out that the lazily accepted line that Martyn was punished for six years for his stroke at the SCG is simply not true. It was his failure in Shield cricket for the few years after that which meant that the selectors simply couldn't pick him. He was only playing at Sydney because Steve Waugh was injured. However, from 96-97 he turned the corner, first for WA and then for Australia, and when he did eventually return for the national team he certainly WAS a far better player. No more talented, but far more worldly. Thanks Marto.

  • Ben on December 9, 2006, 5:40 GMT

    Well i think that Martin was a great addition to a great side.. He has worked hard and deserves a rest if thats what he wants.. Good on him on a great career and for all the enjoyment.. When he was playing australia lost less than 10 games in his 67 matches.. not to shabby at all..

  • Rumman on December 9, 2006, 5:33 GMT

    Martyn has always been one of my favorite two batsmen of all time (the other being mark Waugh). With both of them gone......the era of style and grace has come to and end. Thanks for the memories fellas....

  • StripeyPJs on December 9, 2006, 5:16 GMT

    Because, AussieBill, we mortals attaching our comments/ill-constructed thoughts to the Gidster's blog is akin to wiping our arses with the Dead Sea scrolls.

  • Adam1982 on December 9, 2006, 5:16 GMT

    Martyn better than Ponting? u have to be kidding. But ill miss Martyn, he was never a standout batsman among the like of Ponting, Hayden and Gilchrist. But he always contributed well and was lovely to watch. GL marto!

  • Special K on December 9, 2006, 5:05 GMT

    Farewell Marto, your grace will forever be missed by all those that had the pleasure to watch you in full flight. I am glad that you were able to end the game on your terms rather than being dumped, though I would have liked to see you farewell the game with a century on your home ground.

    We can only imagine how good his figures would have been if not for that 6 year absence, and personally I wish he had been given more of a bowl to end his career with mroe wickets!!

  • jc on December 9, 2006, 4:50 GMT

    i loved marto. i thought he came thru with the goods when it was most needed. the subcontinent. i also believe now that he's gone it's time for lango to step up to the crease and declare himself out. and a few other old stalwarts. not all at once, mind yu. lets be gentlemanly in our last gasps at least

  • tim spencer on December 9, 2006, 4:46 GMT

    As a Marto fan, all i can say is that he is CLASS CLASS CLASS! He will be sorely missed and i wish him the best of luck with whatever it is he does next. Thanks for the brilliantly entertaining career Marto, you are one of the greats!

  • andrew schulz on December 9, 2006, 4:26 GMT

    Thanks Gideon, for pointing out that Martyn's exile from Test cricket was due to lack of runs in the sheffield shield. Those who say he was blamed for losing the Sydney Test in 1993/4 should look at the team list and answer who should have been dropped to make way for Steve Waugh, who should have been picked at Sydney anyway after recovering from a hamstring strain. The last memory of Martyn in Test cricket will be of a completely inappropriate innings (Australia only needed 3.5 runs per over when he came in.) His previous innings in Adelaide was equally inappropriate: 6 not out off 38 balls against New Zealand as Australia pushed toward a declaration. Gideon, you have reacted negatively to criticism, and I regret that I have to comment negatively in response to one who I consider among the best 10 cricket writers of all time, but I have to wonder how you can say what you did about the Australian batting line up and its reliance on Ponting and Hussey. I'd back it to get enough runs to win in Perth if those two each bagged a pair. And a few wide balls does not make McGrath's performance embarassing. Your criticism of Pieterson's first single made me question which game you were watching. He was almost past the stumps when the ball came in-it was an extremely well taken run.

  • chiyo on December 9, 2006, 4:14 GMT

    As a kid growing up one of my favourite comic book character was "Phantom" otherwise known (the name I preferred) as "The Ghost who Walks". For me, Damien Martyn batting was 'Mr.Walker'... or as I would like to call him: "The Ghost who Bats".... you never felt his presence at the crease, and this was the case in the matches/series that he played in. He was an integral member of the team; yet he only got a mention in the news items for the wrong reasons more often than not. Martyn was often made a scapegoat when Australia foundered. Here was a batsman taken for granted; someone who rarely made a fuss when he played... re.batting with a badly injured finger in the finals of the World Cup in SA or the catch he took to dismiss Pietersen off Lee (2nd innings of the Gabba test). He went out there and did his job.... he could be cast as a 'hitman' if you were casting him in the movies (ala Jean Reno in 'Leon/The Professional'). There have been some beautiful touch players in Australia's cricketing past.... Martyn was the latest... his touch was so sublime... I'd even say he must have been an 'Indian' in his past life... carrying on the tradition of Ranji, C.K.Nayudu, Vishwanath, Azharuddin... all brilliant strokemakers.

    With Martyn's retirement, ironically at the moment of one of Australia's greatest triumphs, the light has gone out... will we be able to enjoy our cricket like we used to?

  • Ben Hyde on December 9, 2006, 2:57 GMT

    i agree with the last mans comment. but 2day i believe ricky ponting is the best cricketer in the world. but i am litterally devastated about his decision 2 retire. but at the end of the day it was 100% his choice n thats wat he wanted. all hail the great man... Damien Martyn

  • Sim on December 9, 2006, 2:37 GMT

    I'd like to see some more claims pro cricketers seem to make about percentages. Hard to believe.

    AussieBill - I wonder the same thing, but Gideon writes a much less assuming and more relaxed article. Fantastic reading, keep up the good work!

  • Vishnu on December 9, 2006, 1:54 GMT

    AussieBill: Mr. de Lisle writes antagonising rubbish or soothing sweet nothings (depending on which camp you side with). On the other hand Mr. Haigh is simply an astute & learned cricket historian, who has a very well judged & considered opinion on the game. Big difference. Well done Marto. Well done Gideon.

    Marto was always one of my favourite players too. I will always remember him destroying a very powerful Windies bowling lineup as the captain of Australia A in a ODI in '94/95. He utterly obliterated them that day. There have been many Marto moments like that. His match-winning partnership with Punter in the last World Cup was phenomenal. Especially considering the extreme sacrifice he made to play in that game (i.e. missing the tour of the W.Indies with a very severe finger fracture).

    Damien Martyn, hold your head up high mate. You are champion & you will be greatly missed. I'm happy for you that you made the decision & chose your time. However, it does sadden me that we will no longer get to see that grace, elegance & precision you have in such abundance on the cricket field. Well done Marto. Enjoy the rest of forever fella. You did real good.

  • Reece on December 9, 2006, 1:29 GMT

    marto- a true champion.

  • Daniel on December 9, 2006, 0:55 GMT

    Thanks for all the wonderfull runs Marto, the most graceful batsmen and probably the most honest cricketer. Its said to see you go mate and i hope CA realise the pressure and demand their strangling their players with.

  • Samurai Dave on December 9, 2006, 0:43 GMT

    Strangely for someone raised on the WACA pitch, and with a penchant for the cut shot, in his later years I think Martyn became a far better player of spin than pace bowling. The 2005 Ashes series in England seemed to expose slowing reflexes as the superb English pace attack swarmed all over him. Prior to that his batting in Sri Lanka and India against the spinners showed amazing concentration and dedication.

    He lurched from highs to lows for his entire career and seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about the media, but he left on his own terms and in a uniquely Martyn style. He is an enigma of Australian cricket, but I like him all the more for that in an age in which personalities can become bigger than talent. What will linger with Martyn is the way he made batting look, a joy to the eye.

  • CJ on December 9, 2006, 0:22 GMT

    better than ponting? you must be kidding... last time Ponting batted in the subcontinent he had barely recovered from a broken thumb. he's australia's second best batsmen ever, and there's a fair amount of daylight to number 3. onto Martyn though, you're spot on, this man was gorgeous to watch. His must surely go down as one of the better eyes in the game, especially without even a hint of footwork entering his game at times. He always seemed to me to be the ideal one day opening partner to Gilchrist after Mark Waugh retired, however he never received a fair trial in this position, despite a couple of one day hundreds opening the innings in waugh's absence. I think every cricketer would give anything for Martyn's eye, and his ability to score runs to every corner of the ground. What he lacked perhaps, and indeed what he appears to have put forward as a reason for his departure from the game, was the dedication shown already this summer by Ponting, Hussey, and a reborn Michael Clarke. He will however be sorely missed, and i will always be grateful to have seen him bat.

  • mark on December 8, 2006, 23:54 GMT

    I just wonder why I havent heard anyone say Phil Jaques name at all since Martos retirement. Two centuries against the English in a row should have put him at the front of the queue in my eyes. The guy could bat anywhere in the order and probably still score a century and quite frankly I think he has the character that Justin Langer speaks of. This is a travisty if the highest order. Nothing against Adam Voges he is a good player as well but Jaques has done his time. Disappointed Mr.Hilditch

  • vijay padmanabhan on December 8, 2006, 18:43 GMT

    Well Martyn has always progressed under pressure and in my opinion is better player than ponting because he has thrived in all conditions including the subcontinent which even ponting found it difficult. In my case Martyn is a victim of Australias strive for perfection and their refusal to failure which is tough most times but attitide to winning is something which other teams need to look at. Good Luck Martyn....... Marto, u'r one of the besttttttt

  • AussieBill on December 8, 2006, 12:19 GMT

    How Come Ashes Buzz gets 70 comments every post, whilst the subtly superior Eye on the Ashes struggles to strike up a debate, or even a solitary observation..it's blogging bastardy!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • AussieBill on December 8, 2006, 12:19 GMT

    How Come Ashes Buzz gets 70 comments every post, whilst the subtly superior Eye on the Ashes struggles to strike up a debate, or even a solitary observation..it's blogging bastardy!

  • vijay padmanabhan on December 8, 2006, 18:43 GMT

    Well Martyn has always progressed under pressure and in my opinion is better player than ponting because he has thrived in all conditions including the subcontinent which even ponting found it difficult. In my case Martyn is a victim of Australias strive for perfection and their refusal to failure which is tough most times but attitide to winning is something which other teams need to look at. Good Luck Martyn....... Marto, u'r one of the besttttttt

  • mark on December 8, 2006, 23:54 GMT

    I just wonder why I havent heard anyone say Phil Jaques name at all since Martos retirement. Two centuries against the English in a row should have put him at the front of the queue in my eyes. The guy could bat anywhere in the order and probably still score a century and quite frankly I think he has the character that Justin Langer speaks of. This is a travisty if the highest order. Nothing against Adam Voges he is a good player as well but Jaques has done his time. Disappointed Mr.Hilditch

  • CJ on December 9, 2006, 0:22 GMT

    better than ponting? you must be kidding... last time Ponting batted in the subcontinent he had barely recovered from a broken thumb. he's australia's second best batsmen ever, and there's a fair amount of daylight to number 3. onto Martyn though, you're spot on, this man was gorgeous to watch. His must surely go down as one of the better eyes in the game, especially without even a hint of footwork entering his game at times. He always seemed to me to be the ideal one day opening partner to Gilchrist after Mark Waugh retired, however he never received a fair trial in this position, despite a couple of one day hundreds opening the innings in waugh's absence. I think every cricketer would give anything for Martyn's eye, and his ability to score runs to every corner of the ground. What he lacked perhaps, and indeed what he appears to have put forward as a reason for his departure from the game, was the dedication shown already this summer by Ponting, Hussey, and a reborn Michael Clarke. He will however be sorely missed, and i will always be grateful to have seen him bat.

  • Samurai Dave on December 9, 2006, 0:43 GMT

    Strangely for someone raised on the WACA pitch, and with a penchant for the cut shot, in his later years I think Martyn became a far better player of spin than pace bowling. The 2005 Ashes series in England seemed to expose slowing reflexes as the superb English pace attack swarmed all over him. Prior to that his batting in Sri Lanka and India against the spinners showed amazing concentration and dedication.

    He lurched from highs to lows for his entire career and seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about the media, but he left on his own terms and in a uniquely Martyn style. He is an enigma of Australian cricket, but I like him all the more for that in an age in which personalities can become bigger than talent. What will linger with Martyn is the way he made batting look, a joy to the eye.

  • Daniel on December 9, 2006, 0:55 GMT

    Thanks for all the wonderfull runs Marto, the most graceful batsmen and probably the most honest cricketer. Its said to see you go mate and i hope CA realise the pressure and demand their strangling their players with.

  • Reece on December 9, 2006, 1:29 GMT

    marto- a true champion.

  • Vishnu on December 9, 2006, 1:54 GMT

    AussieBill: Mr. de Lisle writes antagonising rubbish or soothing sweet nothings (depending on which camp you side with). On the other hand Mr. Haigh is simply an astute & learned cricket historian, who has a very well judged & considered opinion on the game. Big difference. Well done Marto. Well done Gideon.

    Marto was always one of my favourite players too. I will always remember him destroying a very powerful Windies bowling lineup as the captain of Australia A in a ODI in '94/95. He utterly obliterated them that day. There have been many Marto moments like that. His match-winning partnership with Punter in the last World Cup was phenomenal. Especially considering the extreme sacrifice he made to play in that game (i.e. missing the tour of the W.Indies with a very severe finger fracture).

    Damien Martyn, hold your head up high mate. You are champion & you will be greatly missed. I'm happy for you that you made the decision & chose your time. However, it does sadden me that we will no longer get to see that grace, elegance & precision you have in such abundance on the cricket field. Well done Marto. Enjoy the rest of forever fella. You did real good.

  • Sim on December 9, 2006, 2:37 GMT

    I'd like to see some more claims pro cricketers seem to make about percentages. Hard to believe.

    AussieBill - I wonder the same thing, but Gideon writes a much less assuming and more relaxed article. Fantastic reading, keep up the good work!

  • Ben Hyde on December 9, 2006, 2:57 GMT

    i agree with the last mans comment. but 2day i believe ricky ponting is the best cricketer in the world. but i am litterally devastated about his decision 2 retire. but at the end of the day it was 100% his choice n thats wat he wanted. all hail the great man... Damien Martyn