No doubt most of the playing obituaries will focus on his legendary batting feats, but there was so much more to him than that. He retires with 233 test wickets under his belt which puts him third on the all-time NZ test wicket list.
Martin probably never got the praise he deserved, having a career alongside the likes of the more glamorous Bond and Cairns for example meant he was never really the pin-up boy. But he certainly gave it everything and never lost the external appearance of being just a laid-back good guy. Quite often he would labour under the burden of filling both the lead strike bowler and the container.
Although he has chosen the right time to pack it in, it is a shame he did not get the farewell tour like Stephen Fleming, for example, got.
As far as introductions to test cricket go, Martin’s was as challenging as you could get. The 2000/2001 tour of South Africa had a hospital ward feel to it. Cairns, Doull, Vettori, Nash and a few others were all injured. It says a bit that Martin made his test debut alongside .. Brooke Walker.
But he led the New Zealand attack in that series and the scene was set. And his best test performance was also against the Kallis & co. His Man of the Match comeback match, the second test in 2004 was arguably New Zealand’s best test of the last decade.
Probably that most impressive thing about his career was his endurance. He shared attacks with Tuffey & O’Connor, O’Brien & Fanklin, through to Southee & Boult.
And his contribution to sporting fashion should also never be overlooked. That exaggerated sweat band around a bald head was a statement that may never be repeated.
And the inevitable comment about his batting. Courtney Walsh’s Test record of 43 ducks survives. Martin gave it a nudge; ending with 36, second overall. Despite all this there was no Southee-like throwing away of his wicket. Perhaps a more telling statistic is that he holds the record for most scores of 0*. He registered 28 of those; next on that list in Ntini with 18.
The cheer at the Basin in 2008 when he lifted Harbhajan Singh back over his head for four was probably as loud as there has even been at a test in New Zealand; not that the bowler appreciated it.
But since the subject of his batting has come up, here’s a great example of what he good bloke he is.