New Zealand news August 30, 2014

Bruce Martin 'gutted' by domestic snub

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 [31] 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.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paul on September 1, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    Be thankful for the great experience of playing test cricket both at home and in England at the end of your career... better spinners from the past would have walked on broken glass to have been given the opportunity to have done that...

  • Francis on August 31, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    He's 34. Has a FC average of over 37 and a Test average close to 54. Unlikely to improve. He can play Shires, IPL?, Grade, Zimbabwe domestic.

  • Rahul on August 31, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    If Bruce Martin would have bowled that last over with men around the bat instead of the tired Trent Boult, NZ would have had a historical home win against England in 2013! Not to be. And sad that now he doesn't get to play domestic cricket, perhaps for the age.

  • Jon on August 31, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    Credit where it's due, Martin played well in that home series against England - he took key wickets, bowled economically, and even scored some useful runs. But he was always a makeshift option.

    The fact that he can't find a spot is just another indication of our current depth, even at first-class level.

  • Steve on August 30, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    Bruce, yes, I understand your pain. The truth is that, no one would have abandoned you if had decent outings in the first place.You have 2 options. Fight your way back in (still possible since no one owned the place vacated by Vettori) or just simply call it quits. Choice entirely in your hands. Good luck with whatever you decide to do...

  • Adrian on August 30, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    To be fair, he was pretty bad in tests and since then his domestic form hasn't been all that great, and he is also towards the end of his career aged 34. A lot of players play tests then drop out of the domestic circuit a year later, as often they work so hard to get to be test ready, then after they fail badly at it then they just lose confidence. It could be that that is what happened to Bruce Martin.

  • Garry on August 30, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    "Tarun Nethula in, who is about as old [31] as I am" mate 3 years is a lot in cricket, well in sports in general.

  • Freeza on August 30, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    If we're completely honest he was very lucky to get a go for the black caps, and when he did play Williamson outbowled him. The unfortunate thing for him is hes just your standard slow bowler who bats a little bit and they are in very large supply (and much younger than he is). Good luck to him with life after cricket though.

  • Sam on August 30, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    I imagine he'll also be pretty gutted at being called a legspinner when he is a SLA!

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