Martyn exits cricket before being pushed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Martyn exits cricket before being pushed

By Adam Cooper 08/12/2006 08:26:15 PM Comments (0)

An SMS message signalled the fall of one of Australia's champion cricket team members and threw the side's preparations for the third Ashes Test into tumult.

Batsman Damien Martyn's retirement from cricket stunned Australian cricket when the 35-year-old announced he was bowing out on his own terms, just six days before the Test where Australia could regain the Ashes from England.

Martyn is the first Australian player to have jumped before he was pushed since former captain Mark Taylor quit in 1999, and not even Martyn's teammates saw it coming.

The veteran No.4 had been under pressure to retain his place for the third Test, starting Thursday, but had been guaranteed a game by selectors in his home town of Perth.

However Martyn's SMS to Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, which asked his boss to review an email he had sent him, meant Australia's selectors had to hastily reconvene to find a replacement.

In the second big shock of the day, the selectors named 27-year-old batsman Adam Voges in the 13-man squad, along with allrounder Andrew Symonds, who gets another chance to kickstart his Test career.

Selectors will wait to assess conditions at the WACA Ground before they decide whether to include the medium pace and spin of Symonds or the debutant Voges, who also bowls slow left-arm.

Martyn's departure is the first of a glut of experienced players who face pivotal decisions on their futures over the next year.

Shane Warne, 37, Glenn McGrath, 36, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer, all 35, are all expected to address their futures after the Ashes series and next year's World Cup.

Voges and Langer learned of Martyn's retirement via an announcement over the public address system while the pair was in the field during the festival match against an England XI at Lilac Hill.

Soon after, Voges was called off the field to be told he had been included in the Test squad after only 22 Pura Cup matches for the Warriors.

Voges' call-up made for a reversal of positions from a month ago, when he was dropped from the WA side so Martyn could play before the Ashes began.

Martyn had been told he would play in Perth, but declined a farewell match and pulled stumps on his 12-year, 67-Test career when he realised he was not 100 per cent committed to playing at the highest level.

"I said to myself when I made this decision in the last 48 hours that I may lose friends in doing what I'm doing," he said in a statement.

"But I also said to myself that if I stayed doing what I was doing I may equally lose respect for myself and the friendship of those around me who are entitled to expect from me more than 100 per cent."

Although it meant Australia had to revamp its Test squad, Martyn's decision was praised as brave in an era when many of his contemporaries finished over the past decade through any of injury, omission or encouragement from selectors.

"You probably don't need to be Einstein to know the Australian selectors are going to want to make the team younger pretty soon," said former Australian captain Ian Chappell.

"He probably felt he was going to be near the top of the list of the guys to go, so I admire him for getting out before they give him the chop."

WA coach Wayne Clark said Martyn could have played out his career as a state-contracted player, but chose to do the right thing by his team and open a position for a younger player.

"It's a very courageous decision to give it all up," Clark said.

"The thing that keeps players in the game now is obviously the money. Damien's made this decision despite that.

"He's still got a contract, he's retired, made this decision for what is right for himself and for what is right for the team and the cricket side of things, and he's got to be admired for that."

Sutherland was about to join his CA colleagues at a Christmas party in Melbourne when he received the SMS from Martyn, and admitted he was shocked.

"I had a chat to Damien and got a very clear indication from him that his decision was absolutely final and that he'd been thinking about it for a little bit of time," Sutherland said.

"It was very clear to me that I was the first person in cricket that he'd spoken to about it.

"He'd actually made a conscious decision over the last couple of days not to speak to anyone in cricket about it, because he wanted to make that decision himself based on his feelings."

Manager Colin Young said Martyn sounded relaxed and "buoyant" on the phone having made his decision.

Young spoke with Martyn before the second Test in Adelaide and had no inkling his client was about to quit.

"With a lot of young fellas around the place, he thought it was time to give them a go, and a few of the other Australian guys might have a look at this decision and think about it," he said.

"I'm a bit shocked, because he could have played out the five-Test series and won the Ashes, but he's decided to bite the bullet."

As expected, allrounder Shane Watson was overlooked for the squad because of a hamstring strain.

England succumbed to another loss this tour, after it was beaten by the CA Chairman's XI by seven wickets.

Australian squad for third Test: Ricky Ponting (capt), Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Adam Voges, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath.

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