Martin Lloyd Love
March 30, 1974, Mundubbera, Queensland
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Top order batter
Mundubbera State; Mundubbera High; Toowoomba Grammar
Between his first-class debut for Queensland in the 1992-93 Sheffield Shield final at the age of 18 and retiring after the 2008-09 decider, Martin Love was the man for the big occasion and the lame pun. An upright, stately batsman with the mindset to bat for long periods, Love made a searing 146 when Queensland finally won their first Sheffield Shield - after 68 barren years - in 1994-95. Five seasons later he posted another century in the final, a six-hour 100 which secured a draw and with it the Pura Cup. Another two hundreds came in the deciders of 2004-05 and 2005-06, when he peeled off 169 to set up an easy win, to set a new national mark. In 2002 he scored 251 for Durham - a county record - and improved on that with 273 in 2003 before becoming the first Queenslander to reach a triple-century with 300 not out against Victoria in 2003-04. He stepped down with an unbeaten 104 in the drawn Shield final of 2008-09, watching the prize go to the Bushrangers.
Love pushed himself to the front of the cab-rank for Australian selection with not one but two effortless double-centuries against the touring English team in 2002-03; when he made his debut in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne, he did so with a first-class average the right side of 50. He instantly looked at home, with a cultured 62 not out, but picked up a duck at Sydney. Another zero - first ball this time - against Bangladesh put his place in jeopardy, and despite a maiden century in the second Test at Cairns, Love lost his place when Damien Martyn returned from injury. Back in Queensland he continued his prolific ways until struck by finger problems in 2004-05 and 2005-06 that restricted his output and threatened his career. Both times he recovered in style only to experience more problems with his body and limped away aged 34.
In 2006-07 he passed 10,000 first-class runs for the state and Stuart Law's mark for the most runs by a Queenslander, but was forced to have a knee reconstruction. A qualified physiotherapist, Love needed his own rehabilitative talents in a difficult recovery. The injury continued to hamper him as his career wound down and he missed the final game in 2007-08 due to Bell's Palsy, a paralysing face condition. He continued for another season, leading the state's run-scoring with 842 in the Sheffield Shield, including a farewell 219 not out at the Gabba.
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