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It's Not Over Yet For Martin Says Supportive Vettori

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Daniel Vettori. Pic: NZPA
Daniel Vettori. Pic: NZPA

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Wellington, April 7 NZPA - Chris Martin's batting may draw the loudest applause but his bowling remains his genuine contribution to New Zealand's test cricket side -- and one captain Daniel Vettori hopes will continue.

Martin returned from test exile for the three-match series against India and despite misgivings about his fitness ahead of his comeback to the international arena, the 34-year-old responded by heading the home side's bowling averages.

New Zealand's most experienced pace bowler took 14 wickets at 32.71 with a best of four for 98 during India's first innings here at the Basin Reserve.

He clocked 134.1 overs in the series -- of the 10 bowlers employed by New Zealand only his captain bowled more -- and he was far and away the most threatening seam bowler among the five New Zealand utilised.

Martin's first test experience against India was also a personal triumph. In Napier he broke the 150-wicket barrier and by the end of today's drawn tour finale he had equalled Danny Morrison's career-haul of 160 to leave the pair joint fourth on New Zealand's list of test wicket takers.

Iain O'Brien was the next most successful seamer in the series with nine wickets at 50.22 while Tim Southee, Kyle Mills and James Franklin had four scalps between them.

Vettori said Martin's presence on New Zealand's next scheduled test tour to Sri Lanka in August-September was an imperative -- and he hoped he would one day emulate the longevity of former Australian workhorse Glenn McGrath.

"His performance in this (series) has been fantastic," Vettori said.

"We've got him for a little while yet and hopefully he's a guy that continues on like Glenn McGrath until he is 37 or 38 because he deserves 200 test wickets."

Vettori went into bat for Martin when the selectors seemed to doubt the bowler warranted a recall after being dropped for the West Indies series in December, and felt his loyalty was justified.

"I've seen him bowl for a long time now. It's just that Chris had not got back to fitness as quickly as we would have liked.

"He's a wonderful bowler and he proved himself against a quality (batting line-up); 200 wickets is the first goal for him and hopefully we can persuade him to stay around a bit longer after that as well.

"We have an extended break now before the next test series and I can see that he is excited about test cricket again."

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