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Anthony Martin reveals the Dravid connection in cricketing rise

Publish Date: 14 Jun 2011, 06:53 PM
Last Updated: 14 Jun 2011, 06:53 PM
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West Indies leg-spinner Anthony Martin
West Indies leg-spinner Anthony Martin

North Sound: West Indies leg-spinner Anthony Martin, who produced a career-best spell in his team's win over India in the fourth ODI, said bowling to Rahul Dravid five years ago led him to believe that he could have a career in international cricket.

"There was this practice game against India in 2006.

Dravid hit my first ball for a four and was gone off the second, caught in the slips," remembers the leg-spinner whose 4/36 led to India's 103-run loss in the fourth one-dayer here on Monday.

"I remember telling myself: 'Hey, here is this batsman who I watch thrash international bowlers all over the world on television. If I can pick him, I can play international cricket'."

"It was also a game where I took Virender Sehwag's catch. The man just stood in the middle and didn't want to leave the pitch. I ran around the stadium in celebration."

A firefighter by profession, Martin's story is one of triumph over adversity as a debilitating injury once almost finished his budding career.

"I represented Leeward Islands in under-15 cricket as a paceman in 1998. But then I suffered a serious injury and damaged my back.

"Since I love this game so much, I started bowling off breaks. Now my Antigua Under-19 coach told me the team has two good off-spinners. So I turn to leg-spin. I always used to
bowl a couple of deliveries of leg-spin in the nets as a sort of warm-up. I knew something about it so started working on it."

Martin said he was motivated to do well after he wasn't picked up in the third match on Saturday.

"It motivated me. I went to the hotel and thought 'hey, my coach doesn't think I am fit to play. I am gonna show'.

Trinidad was slow. But Antigua is my pitch. Nobody destroys me here," he said.

"Nobody comes here and destroys me in my house. I didn't want the whitewash. Losing is not a word in my vocabulary.

Like my uncle who is my mentor, I don't tolerate crap. I am always serious. I don't crack jokes in the middle," he added.

Martin is mindful that in a land which is known for its fast bowlers - Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, Winston Benjamin etc - he is the first spinner to make his mark.

"Yes, I am here to make a difference."

Martin owes a lot to his mother and said the mere mention of her makes him feel like shedding tears.

"I feel like shedding tears for her. She has done a lot for me, always supported me. She was today sitting in the stands with my daughter—but I am not married you know."
He has done well in cricket, but Martin still feels that his job as a firefighter is a priority.

"I sometimes have to handle fire-fighting. Otherwise I do regular police work. Whatever I am told to do I do. If they want me to leave cricket, I would do so. It's my job," he said.

(Agencies)

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