New Zealand pace bowler Chris Martin is preparing for some hard yakka over the coming fortnight as he eyes a return to test cricket.
Martin was in named in the New Zealand squad for the first test against Australia starting in Brisbane on November 20, having missed last month’s tour of Bangladesh through injury.
He said he was no longer hampered by the hamstring and lower-back problems that had sidelined him and he had had a good pre-season build-up.
What he needed now was to get some overs under his belt in the sole warm-up match before Brisbane, a four-day match against New South Wales starting in Sydney next Thursday.
“Physically, I feel not too bad,” he said.
“But I know I’m going to have to put myself through a lot more pain in the next two weeks and make sure when I arrive in Brisbane I’m ready to do battle to a certain standard.”
Martin, 33, is one of five specialist fast bowlers in the Black Caps’ 15-man squad, along with Tim Southee, Iain O’Brien, Kyle Mills and Mark Gillespie.
With the pitches in Bangladesh providing little help for the seamers, only O’Brien and Mills were used in the rain-affected two-test series there, which New Zealand won 1-0.
“I definitely need the bowling in my legs and I think there are a few guys in our side at the moment who are going to need the same thing,” Martin said.
He believed how the Blacks Caps performed against NSW could set the tone for the two-test series against Australia, the second of which will be in Adelaide.
Martin, who has a career goal of taking 200 test wickets, has 140 scalps from 43 appearances.
He has played in one previous test at the ‘Gabba in Brisbane, in 2004 when he took five for 152 in Australia’s only turn at bat as the home side romped home by an innings and 156 runs.
He said he was looking forward to returning across the Tasman and to the intensity in which cricket was played there.
“You get used to playing all around the world but the intensity and the gamesmanship rise a notch when you get to Australia,” he said.
“It’s a part of the world where not too many teams come out of having won a series. It would be nice to turn up in their own back yard and give them a good run.”
Martin described the challenge as more a mental one than anything else and involved having to deal with a combination of top quality opposition and vociferous crowds “that like to have a chat”.