One of Otago’s finest exports to the great game of Cricket, someone whose journey took her from Dunedin to the NZC academy in Christchurch after which began a free spirited international stint that touched divergent parts of the globe- Katey Martin has called time on her career.
But that’s not before having forayed, excelled and succeeded in what has been a brilliant and inspiring nineteen year journey.
In a sport where success isn’t merely determined through runs scored or wickets taken, Katey Martin who both scored runs and effected dismissals from behind the stumps emerged as a pillar of the White Ferns side, one of the Women’s game’s most enterprising and skilful unit.
At a time where cricket has somewhere become perhaps a bit too fast paced having caught up with the league mushrooming culture in different parts of the world, Katey Martin created her own special universe by contributing to national duties whilst never forgetting the importance of domestic cricket.
Her 169-domestic ODI appearances is a chart topping record for New Zealand cricket, across the Men’s and Women’s game.
But there was more to Katey Martin than each of her preciously collected and at times, powerfully stroked 2,789 international runs for the White Ferns.
The right hander emerged as a unique cricketer who was both part of a transition as well as the one who flourished through these turn of events.
Back in 2003, when she made her debut against India, few in the Kiwi line-up handled the contest so gracefully like Katey Martin who played alongside New Zealand stalwarts: Maia Lewis, Haidee Tiffen, Kate Pulford.
Though, it took her a prolonged period of effort to be noticed in the International circle, what kept Katey Martin close to the game were her persistent contributions in the domestic arena. The proud team player of Otago kept giving until her retirement.
At a time where there are many who fail to stay in the game for half a decade, that Katey Martin, warmly described as a one-of-a-kind cricketer, stayed committed to Otago for 24 years is a testimony to her skill, passion and zest for Cricket.
After completing what was truly a stellar season with the Otago Sparks, the smiling Martin was named the 2016/17 season’s Player of the Year.
Therefore, it won’t be wrong to suggest that her longevity in the sport has been the corner stone to success in International cricket.
She functioned as a cheerful and ready-to-roll mainstay lower down the order. It’s here that she accelerated and counter attacked during the death overs. This feature of attacking batting was an outcome of how skilfully she adapted to play the shortest format of the game – T20I’s.
Katey Martin is a terrific ambassador across all formats and is considered among the best brains in the field, an able ally of the bowler.
With sharp wicket-keeping skills, she leaves the game after a magnificent record behind the stumps from where she effected 139 dismissals, a world record for the White Ferns.
Katey Martin was beyond stardom, which any cricketer would so dearly want and her simple conduct perhaps carved her image as an unsung hero who lived a hero’s journey.
Her approach to the game was simple and maybe virtuous even particularly when you think of what the generations to follow can learn from it. It was about giving everything to the team and surrendering personal goals in front of what the unit desired.
But what further added to her personality and image were definitely facets like her sportsmanship and her treating every player alike and appreciating any talent around the world like a sport enthusiast.
Alongside names like a Sana Mir, Mignon du Preez and Mithali Raj, Katey Martin will be saluted for bringing to Cricket, where one can be tempted to chase individual records, the texture of integrity and warmth.
Though truth be told, what every sport needs – over and above overwhelming stats – are ambassadorial figures. Given her ability to harrow bowlers, collect runs quickly often in spurts of big hitting, that Katey Martin also epitomised a sense of selflessness (and affability where it came to giving back the sport), is just why she’ll be considered as among the finest ambassadors of the Women’s game.
Maybe that’s also why it’ll take time to get used to not seeing her on the field.
Keep smiling, Katey Martin!
-with contributions from Dev Tyagi!