New Zealand news July 3, 2013

'I'm going to enjoy watching the young guys have a crack'

Chris Martin looks back on a 13-year career career: from shouldering the New Zealand attack to match-winning spells against South Africa, and his endearing batting skills
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After 13 years of international cricket, why have you chosen now to retire?
I think I've probably known for a good six to twelve months that the passion and desire wasn't quite there and it was time to get out. I did want to get out by walking off the park in a Test match, so I stuck in there and gave that a good nudge, but the odds are that a 38-year-old around New Zealand's bowling group at the moment isn't really required. I'm going to sit back and enjoy watching the young guys have a crack.

Do you feel you're leaving with the pace stocks as strong as at any time in your career, with guys like Southee, Boult and Bracewell all coming through?
Yeah, and it's nice to see a group of bowlers coming through. Watching the good sides over the years, they tend to have a pack, a nice steady rotation of guys that can put pressure on each other to succeed and complement each other. I think Australia showed that with various people around Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, they had guys like Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz and Brett Lee, and New Zealand, in general, have had a bit of a revolving door of pace bowlers over the years. I'm probably the only one who really stuck it out for any length of time. But I'd like to see this group play together for another six to eight years, it would certainly make the captain's job a lot easier.

Only Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori have taken more Test wickets for New Zealand than you. That must make you incredibly proud?
I am pretty pleased. I was never the most skillful or naturally talented, but I did have enough skill and enough talent, and with hard work and determination I was able to stick in there and prove to myself that Test cricket was something that I was good at and enjoyed. I'm pleased to be on the table among some of our better players with the ball.

Is there a career highlight that sticks out?
I had a good Test match comeback against South Africa at Eden Park, where I got 11 for the match. We ended up with a Test win, which for New Zealand is pretty few and far between. It's never about that personal stuff, but if that helps us win a game then it definitely sticks in the memory. I had another game against India in India a couple of years ago when I got a five-for in a short space of time. I will remember that very fondly, because that's not a place you go to as a fast bowler and expect to do well.

You were getting some terrific swing in that match in Ahmedabad - that must have been a rarity for Indian conditions?
It's a bit strange with the balls these days, sometimes you turn up and the ball just does crazy things and you're not actually doing that much different. If it hoops, then you've got to make hay when that happens.

Your record against South Africa was especially impressive, and against Graeme Smith, in particular. What was it about bowling to them that you enjoyed?
My style of bowling, bringing the ball back into some of their right-handers with their forward press, was helpful, as well as straightening the odd one for the edge. To the left-handers, in particular, I've always swung the ball from the stump line away from them. Smith, with the way he plays and closes the bat, he found me pretty tough to handle at times. Mentally you have to bring your A-game against the South Africans, because they're such hard-nosed competitors. They had the better of us on most occasions, but every now and then personally I had good days against them.

Over time, I did have aspirations to at least make it a little less horrendous to watch

Phillip Hughes also struggled against you - he was caught in the cordon cheaply four times from four innings in Australia in 2011-12. Did it feel like every ball you bowled to him you were a real chance?
Yeah, there are certain techniques that really hate facing me. I think Phil, with his feet not really moving and not quite knowing where his off-pole was, he was having a tough series. That series against Australia was probably what made me play another couple of years. I thought after winning in Hobart, that kind of success of a New Zealand side beating a quality Australian side is something you want to taste again. So I was keen to stick in there for another couple of years, especially with the bowling group we had.

That win in Hobart must have felt like a very special achievement given New Zealand's lack of success against Australia in Tests over the years?
We were playing against a mortal Australian side rather than an immortal Australian side, which I had the brunt of for most of my career. You want to test yourself against the best but the Australian side [of past years] was something quite special. It was a tough period for New Zealand against Australia, but hopefully we can put up a bit more fight over the next few years.

Which batsmen did you find the most challenging to bowl against?
People who pick up length very quickly. Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting were the two who could make you feel very ordinary very quickly. A lot of people say that about the batsmen who tend to take slight risks against you and put you off your game. Other players do it in different ways. A guy like Jacques Kallis will grind you down and you could still be bowling to him six or seven sessions later. At various times, you bump into a guy who is at his peak, and I bumped into Ricky and Adam at their peak. They were both pretty scary, along with Matty Hayden. He was another imposing guy to bowl to.

Did it bother you that you didn't play much ODI and T20 cricket for New Zealand?
The thing about playing for the one-day side is they tend to get slightly better results and that builds a good team culture and environment. They always seemed to be having a bit more fun than the Test guys. But I think over time, I had more breaks and more opportunities to stay strong and fit and play quite a good role in the Test side because of that. There's a catch there in terms of income, but I think the way it panned out my main skill was bowling and I couldn't hit a lot with the bat and in the field, so it was realistic that I just played that one format for quite a while.

You mentioned your batting there - it certainly endeared you to fans around the world, but did you ever get embarrassed about it?
Absolutely, it's human nature to be embarrassed by something you're completely inept at. Over time, I did have aspirations to at least make it a little less horrendous to watch. I was just no good. If I didn't have a sense of humour about it then I'd probably beat myself up a wee bit. But I'll have to take a knock on the chin professionally and say that I wasn't quite up to it. But the irony of getting the applause and getting the odd standing ovation when I hit a boundary was never lost on me. I'll remember those fondly.

Were you always well aware of your batting stats, ducks and average and that sort of thing, or did you just put that out of your mind?
The batting average was around 4 for a while, which was not completely ridiculous. But when it started coming the other way I wasn't taking much notice. I suppose the number of ducks that I had over my Test career wasn't pretty reading, but what I can say in my defence is that I did turn down a lot of ones!

You once said that you hadn't learnt to bat properly as a young player because you didn't have a driver's licence and rode your bike to training and couldn't carry a bat with you - was that really the case?
It was semi tongue-in-cheek but there was a lot of reality in it as well. I didn't get my driver's licence until I was 28. The way cricket practice operated when I started was the bowlers turned up and bowled to the top six or eight and then you went home. That's pretty much how it worked. Now guys take a lot more pride in being multi-skilled. I missed the boat a wee bit on that. But I was always very fit because I would ride to practice.

What's next for you now - coaching or something completely away from cricket?
I think you have to step away from cricket and I'm quite looking forward to that. It will make when I do come back a little more fun and I can do it on my own terms. But I'll always be available to whoever needs me for a chat and a coffee or beer. I'll stay connected in some way but at the moment I think it's best to figure out what else I'm good at and what else I'm passionate for and get into it.

You must be looking forward to spending a lot more time with your family?
Yes, I've got a wife and two little girls. One is one year old and one is three and a half. They won't know much about me as a cricketer but they'll get to know a lot more about me as a dad, which is good.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bobbo2 on July 3, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Will miss seeing Martin play for NZ. Seems like a great bloke and always put in 100 percent. Loved the headbands and the batting. NZ cricket has always been about the characters and Martin has always had a place in us NZ fan's hearts. Well done and enjoy your retirement.

  • Maccanui on July 3, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Chris Martin represents everything that is good about NZ cricket. A nice bloke who always gave it everything and punched above his weight. He was never the fastest or most talented bowler but he still managed a long and successful career at the top level. I'll really miss watching Chris Martin steaming in to the crease to bowl with his headband on...

  • Ehlers on July 6, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    On a 1 to 7 scale with 1 low and 7 high, I'd give Chris Martin a 7 for his all round contribution to cricket. Why a 7? Because there is no 8. Dr Geoff

  • hnlns on July 4, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    He was the real workhorse of NZ bowling in recent times, with the young seamers still trying to finding their place in test cricket. After the legend Richard Hadlee and Danny Morrison, he must be someone who has made a mark as a fast bowler with his reliability as a contributor with the ball. His durability was an added bonus to NZ, especially with Chris Cairns and many other seamers going off the scene in quick time.

  • on July 4, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    He really was the South Africans bogeyman bowler, and the reason for that was he almost seemed to get the ball to 'wobble' outside the off stump. All the South African batsmen struggled against him. He was awful to watch as an opposing fan, but he was a craftsman indeed, and very underrated.

  • on July 4, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    I always admired him for his great bowling and his generous character. He always gave 1005 of him to his well nature New Zealand team. Being an Indian, I love to watch him against Indian Team. We can't forget his 5 Wicket in Ahmadabad Test. Miss you martin..have a great life ahead.

  • vatsap on July 4, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Absolute rocker and will be missed. When was the last in recent times we had a cricketer with amateurish attitude but with a professional outlook to winning. The Kiwis come closest to that. No IPL, not even Oneday games, but Chris Martin was a rock star. I remember his four of Harbhajan, infact he had a pretty good n.o. record against India. A terrific spell in the Indian highway test, a match I wanted the Kiwis to win. Presume he will get back to a regular life. All the Best.

  • ARad on July 3, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    I always enjoyed watching Coldplay. I wish he had broken Walsh's duck record. Good luck in future endeavors!

  • on July 3, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Chris was a great contributor to NZ cricket,the ultimate team man he is already being missed by our in our pace attack. You could always rely on him giving 100% per cent to the team. May well be our last genuine exclusive fast bowler to play for NZ the way the game is going today. Good luck for the future,Chris.

  • attilathecricketer on July 3, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Always liked Martin - seemed such an underrated hard worker. Never knew the bit about the bike before - as a bowler who rides to my club matches and therefore does not take a bat with me and often batted at 11 I can really relate to that story

  • bobbo2 on July 3, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Will miss seeing Martin play for NZ. Seems like a great bloke and always put in 100 percent. Loved the headbands and the batting. NZ cricket has always been about the characters and Martin has always had a place in us NZ fan's hearts. Well done and enjoy your retirement.

  • Maccanui on July 3, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Chris Martin represents everything that is good about NZ cricket. A nice bloke who always gave it everything and punched above his weight. He was never the fastest or most talented bowler but he still managed a long and successful career at the top level. I'll really miss watching Chris Martin steaming in to the crease to bowl with his headband on...

  • Ehlers on July 6, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    On a 1 to 7 scale with 1 low and 7 high, I'd give Chris Martin a 7 for his all round contribution to cricket. Why a 7? Because there is no 8. Dr Geoff

  • hnlns on July 4, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    He was the real workhorse of NZ bowling in recent times, with the young seamers still trying to finding their place in test cricket. After the legend Richard Hadlee and Danny Morrison, he must be someone who has made a mark as a fast bowler with his reliability as a contributor with the ball. His durability was an added bonus to NZ, especially with Chris Cairns and many other seamers going off the scene in quick time.

  • on July 4, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    He really was the South Africans bogeyman bowler, and the reason for that was he almost seemed to get the ball to 'wobble' outside the off stump. All the South African batsmen struggled against him. He was awful to watch as an opposing fan, but he was a craftsman indeed, and very underrated.

  • on July 4, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    I always admired him for his great bowling and his generous character. He always gave 1005 of him to his well nature New Zealand team. Being an Indian, I love to watch him against Indian Team. We can't forget his 5 Wicket in Ahmadabad Test. Miss you martin..have a great life ahead.

  • vatsap on July 4, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Absolute rocker and will be missed. When was the last in recent times we had a cricketer with amateurish attitude but with a professional outlook to winning. The Kiwis come closest to that. No IPL, not even Oneday games, but Chris Martin was a rock star. I remember his four of Harbhajan, infact he had a pretty good n.o. record against India. A terrific spell in the Indian highway test, a match I wanted the Kiwis to win. Presume he will get back to a regular life. All the Best.

  • ARad on July 3, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    I always enjoyed watching Coldplay. I wish he had broken Walsh's duck record. Good luck in future endeavors!

  • on July 3, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Chris was a great contributor to NZ cricket,the ultimate team man he is already being missed by our in our pace attack. You could always rely on him giving 100% per cent to the team. May well be our last genuine exclusive fast bowler to play for NZ the way the game is going today. Good luck for the future,Chris.

  • attilathecricketer on July 3, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Always liked Martin - seemed such an underrated hard worker. Never knew the bit about the bike before - as a bowler who rides to my club matches and therefore does not take a bat with me and often batted at 11 I can really relate to that story

  • Rag-Aaron on July 3, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    I hope Chris goes into commentary or something like that. From this article, and other interviews, it's obvious he's a thoughtful guy, there's a complete lack of cliche in those responses and that is such a rarity these days in our sportsmen. Like other people have said, he embodies the best characteristics of being a kiw cricketer - long live the Phantom!

  • on July 3, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Well done Chris Martin. The Phantom, a great career. Love the picture with Sir Richard. Look forward to see what you do professionally; lovely bloke, intelligent man. And yes, it would have nice to see you go out in a test side, maybe a 5-for, and a brilliant 6 not out

  • Scotty848 on July 3, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Lovely guy, good cricketer - always gave it his all. Probably punched above his weight. Hope he has a happy retirement.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on July 3, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    And we will all miss the batting.

  • on July 3, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Best of luck to Chris Martin for the future and congratulations on what was a magnificent career he can be very proud of indeed. Will miss the sight of him bowling to left handers and beating them hands down outside off.

  • RajChellappan on July 3, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Lovely interview !!! Without doubt, Martin had the best technical run up and follow through in recent times. All the very best.

  • on July 3, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    That last line from Chris was heart warming I know what he means, being a dad is something I am very proud off too and it matters a lot...,cheers matw

  • wrenx on July 3, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    My favourite memory of Martin was only from a couple of years ago, from the New Zealand/Australia test series in 2011. The first match was at the Gabba, and Australia had a 4th innings chase of 15 or something, a tiny target. Martin ran in to bowl at Hughes, found the edge, and saw a sitter dropped by Guptil. Most fast bowlers would have had their hands on hips, yelled out loud or kicked the turf or something. Martin took one look to see the dropped catch, turned around and went straight back to his mark. He repeated the exact same delivery next ball, and this time Guptil held the catch. It was heartwarming to see him work hard and celebrate a wicket in the most hopeless of situations, where defeat was a complete formality. Top class player.

  • TheScot on July 3, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Its a sad sad day for me. I always wanted to see him bat live in a stadium but never got the opportunity. Not that he gave a lot of it, but that's a matter for statistician. For the lovers of aesthetic aspects of batting its just few youtube videos which are left to feast our eyes upon. Long Live the Phantom. Long Live Chris Martin.

  • on July 3, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    A very consistent line and length test bowler. Could run through any line up on his day under suitable conditions. Not suitable in the shorter formats for some reason. Didn't have the pace but could keep probing all day... Coming to his batting. Funny to watch.. He belonged to the class of Walsh, McGrath, Geoff Allott, Morrison. It was always amusing to see these guys bat but Walsh and Martin were at the top of the pack. Loved the commentary too that accompanied his batting :)

  • on July 3, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    One of the best Spearheads of pace attack and most consistent....Iam sure there are so many young bowlers who were inspired by you... Thank You Martin....I just love your Bowling Run up its simply awesome ... All the best !

  • jw76 on July 3, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Yes, it is sad to see Chris go, a fine role model and a good pace bowler until the unusual age of 38. I did see him bat twice, and in one of those innings was privileged to see him score a run! So now we have to look around for another candidate at first-class cricket's most challenged batsman!

  • Sachit1979 on July 3, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Good luck phantom. Fans would always remember you as one of the honest servants of the game and a great human being.

  • on July 3, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    thanks for everything champ, 100% man, always in the top 3 of nz batsmens innings to watch, pure entertainment

  • on July 3, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Very Decent and Calm bowler. After Geoff Allott in newzeland side, I loved to see him bowling. He was deadly on bouncy pitches like WACA and the spell from him in Ahmadabad test was Class. Although he started his international career very late but still I reckon it's a very short career for a great player. Only 71 Tests and only 20 ODIS

  • Thefakebook on July 3, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    He's one those guys who knew how to use their limited potential to maximum and do some awesome things with ball,massive respect.Best of luck in your future endeavors Chris!

  • on July 3, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Sad day for NZ cricket fans. He was no help coming in with the bat, but to be honest not many bowlers that come out last to bat are. The difference is usually 5 or 10 runs which doesn't equate to much in a test match.

    My greatest memory of him batting will be when NZ faced Pakistan in a test match in the early 2000's, Skippy (Mathew Sinclair) was on 199* and needed Martin to rotate the strike Against Akram to score his 200. It was one of the most tense overs of cricket I've ever seen by martin handled it like a champ.

    His ability with the ball was incredible. He should be proud. He's one of the senior players that has helped NZ through some difficult change. NZ cricket is better off not just for his wickets but for what he's helped built.

  • on July 3, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    All the best Marto! Always one of my favourite Blackcaps. I still remember well you cleaning up the South Africans in one of the best consistent bowling spells I have ever seen. I remember some good tail end courage and fight to see a teammate or two through to a 50 or 100 as well, even the cover drive you once hit that got a standing ovation. Brilliant son! You gave us a reliable backbone in our test bowling for a long time and you deserve to be ranked up there in the top handful of new zealand's quicks. You will be missed but never forgotten.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 3, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Always enjoyed watching Chris Martin play. He was nothing special but an inspiration nonetheless. His high standards of practice and high expectations of his own fitness and performance allowed him a long and successful international career.

    Loved watching him bat too!

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 3, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Honest trier, gave his 100%, always had a smile.....Good luck tommy!

  • dunger.bob on July 3, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    Good luck Chris. You were always a very under-rated bowler and it's good that you finally got to show what you can really do in that Hobart tour. .. I reckon they should build a wing at the NZ cricket academy and name it after you. The Chris Martin Bowling, Not Batting, Wing sounds good.

  • shane-oh on July 3, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Love the quotes: 'it's human nature to be embarrassed by something you're completely inept at', and, 'I did turn down a lot of ones!'.

    This interview sums the man up very well. All the best again, Marto, you've certainly earned some family time.

  • Snowbadger15 on July 3, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Very good bowler whose inability with the bat has overshadowed his bowling capabilities. His experience would have been invaluable to Trent boult and Doug bracewell when they started their test careers

  • on July 3, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Lovely interview. Why wouldn't any bowler take up his offer?

  • on July 3, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Lovely interview. Why wouldn't any bowler take up his offer?

  • Snowbadger15 on July 3, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Very good bowler whose inability with the bat has overshadowed his bowling capabilities. His experience would have been invaluable to Trent boult and Doug bracewell when they started their test careers

  • shane-oh on July 3, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Love the quotes: 'it's human nature to be embarrassed by something you're completely inept at', and, 'I did turn down a lot of ones!'.

    This interview sums the man up very well. All the best again, Marto, you've certainly earned some family time.

  • dunger.bob on July 3, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    Good luck Chris. You were always a very under-rated bowler and it's good that you finally got to show what you can really do in that Hobart tour. .. I reckon they should build a wing at the NZ cricket academy and name it after you. The Chris Martin Bowling, Not Batting, Wing sounds good.

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 3, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Honest trier, gave his 100%, always had a smile.....Good luck tommy!

  • Cyril_Knight on July 3, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Always enjoyed watching Chris Martin play. He was nothing special but an inspiration nonetheless. His high standards of practice and high expectations of his own fitness and performance allowed him a long and successful international career.

    Loved watching him bat too!

  • on July 3, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    All the best Marto! Always one of my favourite Blackcaps. I still remember well you cleaning up the South Africans in one of the best consistent bowling spells I have ever seen. I remember some good tail end courage and fight to see a teammate or two through to a 50 or 100 as well, even the cover drive you once hit that got a standing ovation. Brilliant son! You gave us a reliable backbone in our test bowling for a long time and you deserve to be ranked up there in the top handful of new zealand's quicks. You will be missed but never forgotten.

  • on July 3, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Sad day for NZ cricket fans. He was no help coming in with the bat, but to be honest not many bowlers that come out last to bat are. The difference is usually 5 or 10 runs which doesn't equate to much in a test match.

    My greatest memory of him batting will be when NZ faced Pakistan in a test match in the early 2000's, Skippy (Mathew Sinclair) was on 199* and needed Martin to rotate the strike Against Akram to score his 200. It was one of the most tense overs of cricket I've ever seen by martin handled it like a champ.

    His ability with the ball was incredible. He should be proud. He's one of the senior players that has helped NZ through some difficult change. NZ cricket is better off not just for his wickets but for what he's helped built.

  • Thefakebook on July 3, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    He's one those guys who knew how to use their limited potential to maximum and do some awesome things with ball,massive respect.Best of luck in your future endeavors Chris!

  • on July 3, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Very Decent and Calm bowler. After Geoff Allott in newzeland side, I loved to see him bowling. He was deadly on bouncy pitches like WACA and the spell from him in Ahmadabad test was Class. Although he started his international career very late but still I reckon it's a very short career for a great player. Only 71 Tests and only 20 ODIS