Big series for young Kiwi quicks: Martin
Hyderabad, Aug 23: The last time Chris Martin was in India to play Test cricket in 2010, he lived some of the best moments of his career. It was in the first Test of the series, in Ahmedabad, that Martin mauled the vaunted Indian batting line-up with figures of five for 63 in the second innings.
Two years have passed since then and both, India and New Zealand have undergone changes in their teams for the current series. While Martin had the experienced shoulder of Daniel Vettori for support in 2010, the Indian middle order was guarded by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. This time, Vettori is out injured and the two Indian legends have retired.
As he leads a totally new-look New Zealand fast bowling attack in this series, Martin weighs in his team’s chances of taking advantage of the relatively inexperienced Indian batting.
In a chat with bcci.tv after Day 1 of the Hyderabad Test, Martin spoke about New Zealand’s new pacers and India’s young batsmen.
Did memories of the Ahmedabad Test come to you when you marked your run-up today for the first time?
A little bit. I suppose if you’ve done well against an opponent in the past, you tend to not be quite as nervous. But I guess every time you’re running in to bowl to [Virender] Sehwag with the new ball, you will be a bit nervous. And that kind of memories can be unreal on flat wickets.
How much of an impact did it make on the young Kiwi bowlers that they won’t have to bowl to Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman – two of India’s best Test batsmen?
It made a massive impact because those two men tended to score the tough runs for India. So, the possibility of putting India into trouble and not letting them get out of it will be there throughout the series. However, the new boy, (Cheteshwar) Pujara played well today, so the replacements aren’t too bad either. But with Dravid and Laxman’s experience missing, they are going to go through some tough periods in the series.
And how much does not having Daniel Vettori affect New Zealand?
It’s pretty big actually. His consistency is something that we’ve always relied on as a side since the last 12 years. I think he enjoys playing on Indian surfaces and in front of the Indian crowds, bowling to some of the best batsmen in the world. So, he’ll be missing it and we’re missing him as well.
There are many young fast bowlers in your team who’re playing a Test in India for the first time. What would this tour mean to them?
This is going to be a huge experience for them. For a young guy like Trent Boult, to be swinging the ball and getting the prized scalp of Tendulkar, will accelerate his development over the next year or so. What these boys will really learn is how consistent you have to be on these flat wickets against some of the best players. That’s the only way to operate in India and these guys are going to take back invaluable experience from this tour.
What did Trent Boult say after getting Sachin Tendulkar out?
He said it was a very surreal feeling. I think when you grow up, and he probably has grown up watching Sachin play, to go out there and knock that man’s middle stump off is going to stay with Trent for quite a while. We hope he can add to it throughout the series.
What is the key to succeed in these conditions against the Indian batsmen?
It would have been great to have someone who swings the ball a mile and bowls at 145 kph. But we don’t quite have someone like that. So, we’ll have to operate as a pack and bowl well in partnerships. The Indian batsmen like to hit boundaries and if we can consistently keep things tight, we can create problems for them. However, today was a par day for both the teams. It will now depend on whether we can turn up tomorrow morning and pick up a couple of early wickets.
Has your role changed in any way now that you’re the leader of the pack in the absence of Vettori?
Not really. I kind of have a certain style of bowling and a certain attitude to it, which hopefully I can pass on to the younger guys. The only example you can set them is by turning up everyday, doing the hard yards yourself and enjoying it.
Ross Taylor said he was counting on the ball to swing around for all five days. Were you happy with the way the wicket behaved?
There was a clear blue sky this morning, so the opportunity of swinging the ball was marginal. There was a bit of bounce, especially with the new ball. But once it got a bit soft, it was really difficult to find the right areas. I think as the Test moves further, it will only get slower and lower. This morning was probably the only opportunity to get the carry and get a few wickets. Otherwise, this is a flat track.