New Zealand news July 8, 2011

Southee could be one of NZ's finest - Martin

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand's Chris Martin has backed fellow seamer Tim Southee to become "one of the finest" bowlers to play for the country. Southee has made an impressive start to his career that includes a 2011 World Cup haul of 18 wickets, making him the third highest wicket-taker in the tournament. Martin, who is near the end of his international career, believes Southee has it in him to build on the bright start and serve New Zealand for a long time.

"He's made a huge amount of improvement over the last year and is just at the beginning of a fine career," Martin said on the side-lines of an event in Invercargill. "I can't really see any problems with him physically. He's going to be able to play as much cricket as he wants. It's all going to be about drive."

Martin, long considered a Test specialist, is one wicket shy of becoming the fourth New Zealand bowler with 200 scalps in the longest format. "When I sit back with my pipe and slippers at some stage, it will mean a lot more," Martin said about the impending milestone. "It feels like part of my job and part of what I do at the moment. I thought 50 was quite a lot. I'm pleased to have slowly climbed up the wicket table as I've gone along. I'm not finished yet."

Martin, 36, has had a relatively injury-free career, an exception to the norm among New Zealand fast bowlers, and believes he is fit enough to carry on at least until the end of the year. "I'm really professional with what I do off the field to make sure I stay on the field. I'm blessed with quite an economical action and have reasonable genetics.

"At the start of last year, I felt like it might have been my last year, but I enjoyed it so much and actually played quite well. It meant I could give myself another year. We'll have a look at the end of the year."

New Zealand's next Test assignment is in Australia in December but Martin will be in action before that, for the Auckland Aces in September's Twenty20 Champions League in India.