West Indies v India, 4th ODI, Antigua June 14, 2011

'No-one comes here and destroys me on my pitch'


Anthony Martin is an original. In what was undoubtedly the most delightful press conference of the tour, Martin presented his rainbow personality. Passionate. Sentimental. Humourous. Serious. Emotional. Slightly off his rocker. Naïve. Sincere. Fresh. Utter fun.

It started with the most rollicking understatement of the tour and it also had an over-the-top, theatrical, warning in the middle. "It [his four-wicket haul] feels good. I may not show it on the outside but I feel very good inside, you know," he said. Not show it outside? Seriously? Really? Martin was bouncing in joy. Happiness exploded from him. It was almost infectious.

You would think characters like Martin don't come any more in this day and age but here he was, parading his colourful character. It didn't feel like a performance; he was just being himself.

"No-one comes here and destroys me on my pitch," he said. "This is my pitch. I don't care who they are. I am here to destroy whoever I play against. I am so glad that I did it against India, the world champions."

There was no trace of arrogance. The way he said the words you couldn't even accuse him of being pompous. Neither were they meant to be humorous. It was light hearted sure but it appeared he meant every word of it. Yet, no one could take offence.

He is sentimental. A local journalist asked him about the impact of his mother. "Sometimes just to speak about my mom I want to shed tears. She has always looked out for me. She supports me all the time. She was in the crowd today with my daughter and girlfriend." Sentimentality gives way to humour without any warning. "I am not married," he says with a laugh. "I might not ever. I may also."

Now, he was on a roll and it appeared he couldn't have stopped himself, even if he tried. "I am sorry that Sachin and Sehwag weren't here," he continued. No-one had brought up those two names. "I have played against Sehwag one time before. I took a catch off him and he didn't want to move. He stood on the pitch, leaning on his bat and I was celebrating. I went all around the park." Laughter.

That game was back in 2006. It was where Martin's confidence grew and a cricketing career took the next step. "I took the wicket of Rahul Dravid, caught at slip. I took another left-hander , don't remember his name. I took two wickets for not much. After getting those wickets I told myself I can play international cricket. I have seen Dravid on TV destroying attacks all over the world and he came here and I destroyed him. He hit a four first ball and then gone! So I tell myself I can play."

He might come across a fun eccentric character but he is a severely passionate and hard-working man. He used to be a fast bowler in his under-15 days but an accident injured his back and he couldn't bowl fast anymore. So he tried off spin but the under-19 coach in Antigua told him he had to try something else since they had two established offspinners. "I said ok. I switched to leg spin ... I had to find something to stay in the game. I used to warm-up with legspin when I was a pacer and so I tried my hand at it."

His uncle was his chief mentor of his life. As he puts it his unique way, "My uncle didn't tolerate any crap. He was always serious. If you notice I am always serious too. I don't make jokes when the game is going on. When it's on my only friends are my team-mates."

Antigua is where he grew up and he was disappointed not to play in the fourth ODI. It spurred him on. "I went back to the hotel and thought the coach didn't think fit for me to play. I tell myself that whenever I get the opportunity to play I am going to show that I deserve to be there in the eleven."

More motivation was also at hand. "I didn't want the whitewash or the Indian wash!" He ended the press meet with more delightful gems. "I don't like losing. That 'L" word is not in my vocabulary. Only Love and Lord. Not Losing."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on June 16, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    @MADDY20 LOL you think that this second string Indian team of yours can defeat the pakistan full strength team. oh well let me tell you what will happen. these Indian babies would be thrashed so hard by the pakistan team that it will bring a end to careers of your new born cricketers. pakistan team would have made you taste a 5-0 defeat. huh. and what about your senior player? resting in their bed. they have no feel for their team. you people are losing rating, so face it!!!! pakistani players are getting careers best ranking. go see for yourself. Mark my words the wheel will turn and india will be at of the rankings.

  • cric-maestro on June 16, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    @ayaz noor m, well i wud suggest that before questioning the system of some other country,,,pls be concerned about what happens in ur system....and now the players which u can easily say young and inexperienced can destroy a full strength pak team any given day...u can relate this topic to ipl by mentioning its full-form or whatevr....but the fact remains that because pak players are not allowed to play in it(and wont be in the future too)..and this fact it seems does not go too well with u and many others...tell me why there ws no criticism by pak in the 1st season of ipl wen pak players wre allowed??....trust me mate,, no one is stopping IPL bcos of this reason...and coming to the topic now tht we hav won the t20 n odi series..who gives a damn if there ws nt a full-fledged side...

  • dummy4fb on June 16, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    @cric-maestro, wow now you didnt even read my earlier comment did you? if you notice i also said that im talking about ipl because somebody else talked about it, he said its indian bench team thats why they won n all that. all im saying is that you sent your second stream team no matter what the reason (which clearly is ipl) but that was your own choice, WI did NOT opt to play against your bench team, its your system who got them to play these young/inexperienced boys. and by the way if you forgot, ipl means Indian premiere league, so it IS related to this article because the reason WI is playing against indian bench team is your IPL, that is a fact nobody can deny. and yes again i would say, Pakistan team or players have absolutely no link to this articles at all, then why are you talking about PCB mismanagement n all that? WI vs Ind means that Indian team is there, whether its the world champ team or bench team, thats is related to indian cricket and eventually IPL!

  • shawnxxx on June 16, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    I came to a conclusion after reading some of these comments,most of you guys can't read and should repeat English class." No-one comes here and destroys me on my pitch"(read this 10 times and you guys might get it).Don't forget this is also WI "second string team".India will lose in Jamaica is WI play Russel,roach and Ravi.About Martin no one prove him wrong yet, so just shut up an accept it because after all it is.... a fact!!"I am sorry that Sachin and Sehwag weren't here"That what you call confidence, it's likely they would of kill him but who knows they might of become his bunnies lol.

  • maddy20 on June 15, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    @Ayaz Noor M and Saad ROhail Irrespective of everything else, a second string Indian side is better than Full strength Pakistani side! Atleast thats what the results say! They have won the T20 and wrapped up the ODIs. Forget about rating points and everything else. Who gives a damn?

  • cric-maestro on June 15, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    @AYAZ NOOR M, well talking about irrelvant discussion..how about ur comments then bcos its nowhere mentioned in this article that indian players prefer ipl..(u can check, u hav mentioned this in all of ur comments)...now how is this in any way related to this article??...moreover,what about 3 wins prior to that loss.,,relate that to the ipl also....we wont talk about pak cricket and all the mess that goes on there but if the topic is of ind v/s wi, then one has to focus on the current squad rather than making the issue of mainstream players taking rest...they are the world champions and this is nothing to do with the ipl...they play under immense pressure thru-out the year and yet they deliver..so wat if some rest and skipping a tour..a true fan of the game will respect the abv facts...

  • cric-maestro on June 15, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    @SAAD ROHAIL, mate its understandable that rating goes down when thr is a loss..but that same rating goes up also when the side wins..now it seems u r big fan of icc predictor...and its puts ur knowledge of cricket under doubt if consider wi to be favorites for the 5th odi...actually we will wait for that until the match is over...but i m extremely sorry that taking pride by india losing points wont fetch u anything....i suggest u reserve this for future bcos in any case india is not going below pak in the rankings by some defeats...even after if they play their second string team...

  • dummy4fb on June 15, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    @cric-maestro, flyingmachinee: people will never learn to stick to the topic, this page is not about Pakistan team, afridi, his noc or english county or slpl. this is strictly about India vs WI so will you please stick to the topic, when did i say that Pakistan cricket is going in right direction or we're doing too good n all, i didnt say such things because this is not what this article is about. people tend to do so much irrelevant discussion!

  • reghuh on June 15, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    Shikhar Dhawan- Club standard player who does not deserve a place in Indian team-His 50 was the ugliest ive seen from any opener. Manoj Tiwari- should be asked to bat at middle order (though Uthappa,Saurabh tiwari,Valthatty,Rayudu were better options) Wridhiman Saha- Does not deserve to be in Indian Team (Dinesh Kartik,Parthiv ,Rayudu are lots better ) Ishant Sharma- should be taken to school of basics or sacked from the team- Mad bowler with no direction,consistancy or focus.Just runs in and throws the ball. Windies is a club like team and loosing to them is a disgrace to the world champions..even local school teams in India have capability to beat windies every game and this loss is such a disgrace to the 5 million fans out here in India INclusion of people like Shikhar Dhawan,Ishant Sharma,Wridhiman Saha, Mukund etc is a shame to the fans of cricket and the cricket players back in India , World champions.........

  • Aussie_Mike on June 15, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Well Pakistan full strength team from the PCB also won the ODI series 3-2. We shalll see tomorrow if India (not full strengh) can do better or same.

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