60 seconds with: Chris Martin, former fast bowler

Martin reckons he gave his best bowl at Eden Park against South Africa in March 2004. Photo / Greg Bowker
Martin reckons he gave his best bowl at Eden Park against South Africa in March 2004. Photo / Greg Bowker

There's a celebration of the white headband at Eden Park over the next two nights, as popularised by you. How did it come about? It was due to the very hot, sweaty conditions in the sub continent. It took a little bit of guts to put it on the first time. I think it was an A tour to Sri Lanka where I broke it in a little bit then went back there on a full test tour and wore it.

You always maintained a high level of fitness and were rarely injured. To what do you attribute that? I was always pretty disciplined with how I trained and figured out a way that worked for me. I was brought up in an era where stretching was a massive part of being a fast bowler and I would say I had an economical action, one that wasn't really brute strength. Mum and Dad have passed on some pretty good genes and as a kid the era I grew up in, it was all about running, biking, playing every sport, not really watching a lot of TV.

Let's clear this one up: you used to ride a bike to games without a bat or pads, true or ... ? When I first made the Canterbury setup, I was one of those fringe players who turned up and bowled for a couple of hours at the team. That was when I turned up with just my boots. Occasionally when I cracked it I would still bike with just my boots. Getting a bat at the end of training wasn't very likely. I biked from home in Christchurch to one of my first tests against Pakistan at Lancaster Park and had a pretty good argument with a security guard who wasn't going to let me in. I rode 10-12km to get from home in Fendalton to the ground each morning, and back again.

Give us the one day, game or innings where you walked off and felt "I can't bowl any better than that". Because I hadn't cracked an international lineup, it would probably be at Eden Park against South Africa (March 2004, match figures of 11-180). But that afternoon against the Indians (Ahmedabad, 2010) when we got them five for 15 ... it was a different feeling but it was probably me at the peak of my powers, age, experience and I suppose sheer enjoyment at getting out some of the best players in the world.

Do you remember the best sledge every tossed your way when you were batting? I didn't really know if it was a sledge or not but I hit Harbhajan Singh over his head for four at the Basin Reserve. The crowd went mental. I was walking back to take guard for the next ball and Sachin Tendulkar smiled at me and said, "Now I know what it must have been like when Bradman played". I was trying to figure out if that was a tongue in cheek attack or just, "My God, that applause is normally for me".

But, seriously, did the flak over your batting ever really annoy you? It was a bit of a wave riding that one out. At times I was genuinely pissed off I couldn't bat. And constantly being asked those questions when I wasn't playing as well as I could, or should, it would affect me more. But if my bowling was going well and the team performing then that part of my game wasn't attacked. You had to take it on the chin.

You were noted as a music lover. What's on your listening device these days? It's The Wiggles, Yellow Submarine and Puff the Magic Dragon (he and wife Jane have two daughters under 5).


• White headbands with Chris Martin's name and test statistics on them will be available for $5 at the HRV Cup Eden Park games against Wellington tonight and Canterbury tomorrow night.

- NZ Herald

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