G Dean: Martin in picture for Lord's success (5 Sep 1998)

5 September 1998

Martin in picture for Lord's success

By Geoffrey Dean

MANY of the Derbyshire team for today's final bought prints of an oil painting of Lord's from a well-known artist in Manchester this week. They thought that the prints, once signed by both sides, would hang nicely at home or sell well at a benefit auction. Ironically, the same artist is one of the main reasons Lancashire are strong favourites to win the NatWest Trophy.

Peter Martin is that artist. His works have not yet found the same fame as Jack Russell's, but the Derbyshire players must like Martin's brush-strokes as much they must dislike the late outswingers that he curves away from their bats. Seven wickets against them in the two-day championship defeat at Old Trafford this week reminded them of his skill.

Martin has bowled consistently well in one-day cricket this season, just as he did last summer. At last, after a two-year gap going back to September 1996 against Pakistan, he was recalled to the national one-day side for the Emirates triangular tournament.

He had gone to Sharjah last winter but not played, and then had not been selected for the one-day party for the Caribbean. No one bothered to contact him to explain, or sympathise with, his omission.

You will not meet a more affable or down-to-earth professional cricketer than 'Digger', as he is known on the circuit. He admits with typical honesty that he was more nervous before his comeback match against Sri Lanka at Lord's than he was for his debut - against West Indies at the Oval in 1995 when he took four for 44, including the wicket of Brian Lara, clean bowled.

"I was so pleased to get back," said Martin. "It went well for me in those three games, though I could have bowled a wee bit better. It was swinging round corners in the first game but it hardly swung at all in the final."

The white ball's use in the World Cup, with its greater willingness to swing, makes Martin a virtual certainty for the England squad next year. He is in the party for the one-day tournament in Bangladesh in late October, but before then has the small matter of fitting in his wedding and honeymoon.

Lancashire's challenge in all three remaining competitions means there will be no respite for Martin and Co for the rest of the season. "The attack's performed well as a unit in one-days," Martin said. "Ian Austin and I have generally got us off to a good start, but if we haven't, there's always Wasim and Glenn Chapple to come. And Gary Yates has bowled well, too."

While Chapple played a match-winning part in the quarter-finals with a five-wicket burst that torpedoed Nottinghamshire's excellent platform, it was Martin, backed by Austin, who dragged Lancashire back into the semi-final at Southampton after they had made only 250 on a flat pitch.

Dismissing John Stephenson and then, courtesy of a peach of an outswinger, Robin Smith, Martin effectively won the game with a top-class opening spell.

Painting is his main relaxation. "I took it up four years ago when I was a bit bored one winter and had just bought my first flat. Rather than shell out money on pictures, I thought I'd paint my own, and the more I did it, the better I got.

"Now, I'm building up to an exhibition. I don't particularly like doing cricket stuff as I spend six days a week at grounds, but I'd done one of Lord's and the Derby lads bought a load off me."

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)