After an unimpressive last season, lanky New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin wants to make a positive start to the new season by doing well in the upcoming Test series against India, a country he is touring for the first time.
Martin, who has taken 187 wickets in 56 Tests, managed to get only 16 in his last six Tests, including a wicket-less outing against Australia in his last international game at Hamilton in March.
“Last year was not a great year for me. My goal this year is to make it good and enjoyable and the enjoyment comes from bowling well,” said Martin, who will turn 36 on December 10, two days before the second Test in Hyderabad.
Ready for hard work
The seasoned bowler said he wouldn't mind slugging it out in sub-continent conditions, not favourable for fast bowling. “The last international game I played was in April. To come here and have some cricket under your belt is good. No warm-up game here, but the way international calendar is these days, it's not a surprise,” he said.
The experienced bowler is hoping that he will able to do well on Indian wickets. “I think so. If you look at the stats of the last three series, I think spinners and quickies have taken wickets evenly. It gives me a bit of a chance and bit of a hope that the wicket will deteriorate and hopefully I will get into the act,” said the bowler, who relies more on seam movement than swing in the air.
Wary of reverse swing
Talking further about the conditions, Martin said the experienced bowlers need to operate with the new ball and the Kiwis need to be wary of the Indian bowlers' ability to gain reverse swing.
“It looks the new ball is coming on to the bat as it is hard. Experienced bowlers in the game are going to be involved when the new ball is harder. I think the way the Indians bowl, reversing, which is something we need to be watching out for in different stages of the game,” he said.
Talking about the SG balls to be used in the Test series, Martin said, “It's probably a harder ball than the Kookaburra and it reverses earlier and more,” he said.
Martin hoped the thrashing his teammates suffered in Bangladesh, where they were whitewashed 4-0 by the host, would not affect their performance in India.
“As far as the Bangladesh tour is concerned, half that lot is not here and those who were there would, I think, have got their own confidence back on track,” he said.
Toasting the skipper
Asked if the Black Caps would consider the first Test, starting on Thursday as the 100th match of skipper Daniel Vettori, who has actually already appeared in 100 Tests after representing World XI against Australia, Martin said they had already celebrated that milestone.
“You caught me on the hop there. I think he played for the World XI and we celebrated his 100th Test at Hamilton.
“We got him 100 bottles of very nice wine. I think that will probably go down as his 100th match,” he explained.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins, who will do the wicketkeeping duties to let hard-hitting Brendon McCullum concentrate on batting, said he was looking forward to doing the job.
“I am looking forward to keeping wickets here after Brendon said he was giving up the gloves. I am very excited that I will be keeping wickets in Tests,” said the 33-year-old who made his Test debut in 2004 against England, his only appearance at the highest level of the game.
Hopkins has also played in five ODIs.
McCullum decided to quit wicketkeeping in Tests in June but would continue to don the gloves in the limited-over formats of the game.
He is likely to open in the Test series against India.
Keywords: India-New Zealand Test series