Damien Martyn: 19 things about the Australian craftsmen

Born October 21, 1971, Damien Richard Martyn is a former Australian cricketer, who batted with a lot of elegance. As a right-handed batsman, Martyn made his international debut in early 1992 but didn’t manage to be a mainstay in his initial stages and featured in handful of games. Martyn possessed immense potential and was extremely talented. Having scored plethora of runs in the international circuit he is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Australian cricket. On his 44th birthday, Suraj Choudhari throws light at his alluring career and lists down 19 lesser-known things about the Australian genius at the crease.

1.  Elegant batsman: Martyn was a classy batsman; his forte was his placement and the ability to pierce narrow gaps. He had a flawless technique and looked composed at the crease. He was a difficult customer to get away with once he gets his eye in.

2.  Occasional medium-pace bowler: Martyn occasionally bowled right-arm medium pace and has picked couple of wickets in Test cricket. He also has 12 wickets to his name in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) too.

3.  Wicket-keeper: Martyn was a utility cricketer; he could also donthe wicket-keeping gloves if needed, and has kept wickets in First-Class cricket.

4.  Livewire: Martyn was a brilliant fielder and didn’t let the ball slip through his safe hands.

5.  Replacement for Dean Jones: Martyn donned the Australian whites for the first time in a Test against West Indies at Brisbane in November 1992. He was roped into the side as a replacement for Dean Jones.

6.  Youngest skipper: After making inefficient debut in both the formats for Australia, Martyn returned to the domestic circuit and drilled hard in a bid to regain a national spot. At the age of 23, Martyn was elected as the skipper for Western Australia, which also made him the youngest skipper of his side in 1994-95 season.

7.  Wisden cricketer of the year 2001: Martyn was awarded named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2001 for his outstanding performances in the 2001 Ashes. He plundered two centuries at Edgbaston and Headingley.

8.  Man for Australia in Border-Gavaskar Trophy: Martyn was prolific in the 2004 Border-Gavaskar Trophy as his terrific performances with the bat assisted Australia win their maiden Test series victory in India for over 30 years. He played the entire series and Indian spinner with unmatched confidence and scripted history with the bat. He scored 444 runs at 55.50 and was awarded the Player of the Series.

9.  Bradman record: In the 2004 edition of Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Martyn slammed a century in the second innings of the second Test at Chennai. He continued his good form in the first innings of the third Test as he scored a tenacious 114 at Nagpur. He was on the brink of equalling legendary Don Bradman’s record on three centuries in three innings on a trot when he was dismissed for a well-made 97 in the second innings to the third Test at Nagpur.

10.  Prolific run: Martyn was at the peak of his career in 2004-05. With a span of 13 months, Martyn created a number of records and had a splendid run in the said period. He first started off with two centuries against Sri Lanka in their own den as Australia whitewashed the hosts in three-match series. Then with a magnificent run in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2004 that saw Australia claim the series for the first time in 30 years and later a couple of centuries against Pakistan at home and whitewashed the visitors in a three-match Test series. He didn’t end it here he took it to the Trans-Tasman trophy where he smashed another century. In the entire period he gathered 1608 runs at a staggering average of 61.84 with 7 career defining centuries to his name.

11.  Test Player of the Year: Martyn was honoured with the prestigious Test Player of the Year award at the Allan Border Medal ceremony in 2005 for his prolific run in the longest format.

12.  Axed from the national side: Martyn’s failure with the bat in the 2005 Ashes in England saw him being dropped from the Test side. In the entire series, he managed only 178 runs at an average of 19.77, an outing, which was highly unsatisfying from a batsman of his class. Worse, Australia lost the Urn.

13.  Glorious Champions Trophy 2006: Martyn was the highest run-scorer for Australia in the 2006 edition of ICC Champions Trophy in India. He was named Man of the Match for couple of match winning knocks. He played an equally important knock against West Indies in the finals and remained unconquered on 47 as Australia won the title for the first time in their cricketing chronicle.

14.  Recalled to the Test side: Martyn had this uncanny knack of making comebacks. He once again got the opportunity to play Tests series against South Africa in 2006 ahead of Brad Hodge.

15.  Unexpected retirement: Martyn surprised the cricket fraternity with his surprising retirement from international cricket following a dismal show in the first two Tests of the 2006 Ashes at home. He was expected to play the third Test but on December 8, 2006, but he retired.

16.  ICL: After his playing days in the international cricket were over, Martyn got associated with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2007 but pulled out due to some personal reasons only to reunite in 2008.

17.  Rajasthan Royals: In 2010, Martyn was roped into the Shane Warne led Rajasthan Royals (RR) side in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for US$ 100,000.

18.  Commentator: Post-retirement, Martyn also flirted with commentary. He continues to do that.

19. Captivating records: Martyn represented Australia in 67 Tests and 208 ODIs in which he amassed 4406 runs and 5346 runs at a stunning average of 46.37 and 40.80 respectively. It’s a healthy record for any cricketer to boast.

(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)