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August 30, 2014
Less than a year after playing Test cricket, New Zealand left-arm spinner Bruce Martin is without even a domestic contract. Each team in New Zealand is allowed a maximum of 15 contracted players, and once Auckland passed him over, Martin had effectively slipped out of the top 110 players in the country.
Martin, who played five Tests in 2013, said he knew his international career was nearing an end after suffering a loss of form and confidence against Bangladesh last October, but was "gutted" by his domestic snub. He has played 131 first-class matches.
''I saw the New Zealand thing coming because the Bangladesh tour wasn't a great tour for me. But I thought I had a massive part to play in the Auckland team, especially them being a young side," Martin told Dominion Post. ''I was keen to push on. I'd had a good couple of seasons and I wasn't far off 400 first-class wickets.
"I thought by pushing me out, Auckland were making room for Bhupinder Singh, then they got Tarun Nethula in, who is about as old  as I am, so it's a funny one. I'm a bit gutted. It came as a surprise. But it's professional sport. It comes and goes, so I can't really complain.''
Martin has 355 first-class wickets, but he can also function as a handy lower-order batsman. He made 41 on Test debut against England in Dunedin, and has two first-class centuries. However, injuries eventually took a toll on his body, something Martin said was a factor in Auckland not renewing his contract.
''I played a bit injured last season in the four-dayers and wasn't as good as I should have been. I probably paid for that in the end, so it is what it is.
"My rehab [tendonitis in the knee] was going real well. But the management told me 'we don't think your rehab is going very well so we aren't going to contract you'. They got me in a meeting. We talked about my goals and they said 'we aren't going to contract you', so it was unexpected.''
Martin hinted he may continue playing club cricket, but made it clear that a comeback was highly unlikely. ''I came from a club cricketer four years to a Black Cap, so the thought of doing that again from nothing doesn't sit well with me," he said. "I thought about it, but it would just prolong things. It is probably time up for me. I've had my fun."
Heath Mills, the chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, admitted that Martin's situation was "unusual", but said the NZPA's hands were tied.
''I was surprised no one picked him up,'' Mills said. ''I've not heard of a situation where a player goes from a New Zealand contract to no domestic contract. Effectively he is being told to transition out of the sport, by virtue of no contract.
''We don't recommend players to other provinces ahead of other members because that is to the detriment of other players. We just make sure the ranking are done according to the criteria. That's all I can do. At the end of the day, it is not for us to decide who gets a contract.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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