Cricket: Martin spins way into Black Caps

By Cameron Leslie

Whangarei-born cricketer Bruce Martin has been named in New Zealand's test squad, alongside fellow Northlander Tim Southee for their upcoming tour of South Africa.

Martin, 32, will be making his international debut after a 13-year first class career in which he has taken 297 wickets at 35 runs apiece, while Dan Vettori is continuing his rehabilitation from injury and is unavailable.

Former Northland cricketer Murray Child, who had a lot of involvement with Martin when he was younger, said the Kerikeri spinner had never lost his connection with the north.

"It's good to see him get some recognition. He's a very relaxed sort of a guy but when he's on the park he's very competitive."

The former Bay of Island's player would not feel the pressure of having to replace Vettori, with his experience being enough to carry him through, Child said.

He said Martin last played for Northland in the under-19 team but had assured Child that he would come back to play before he retired.

Child said it would be good for the region to now have another player of interest for Northlanders to follow on the international scene.

National selection manager Kim Littlejohn said Martin is a specialist left-arm spinner who can bowl plenty of overs and deserves an opportunity after showing good recent form.

The veteran of 109 games for Northern Districts and Auckland has come into the team at the expense of the leg spinning Todd Astle, while Dean Brownlie has been recalled to the side and will challenge Peter Fulton to assume Ross Taylor's spot in the batting order.

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said New Zealand did not require a leg-spin option in South African conditions, but that Astle was still very much part of the future.

Test squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Bruce Martin, Jeetan Patel, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

- Northern Advocate

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