See Adelaide and retire

I’m not sure what to make of this. But first it was Damien Martyn and now it is Nathan Astle who have responded to a great win by their teams in Adelaide by announcing it is time to retire.

It’s better then seeing Naples, I guess. But I am still offended.

Goodbye Gnome

Justin Langer made it a hat-trick of retirements this week, with the most low-key of announcements. He’s the most low-key of players too, who is uber-passionate on the field, but not particularly noticable away from it.

His career has been an interesting exercise in constant reinvention. He started out as a middle order batsman against the likes of Curtly Ambrose. The 1992 West Indians claimed he was afraid and bowlers have been targeting ever since. They often hit him, too. South African’s Makhaya Ntini conked him so hard in the Johannesburg Test that he doesn’t remember it, which was a pity as it was his 100′th.

But for me the serious reinvention was in 1999/2000. He shared that famous partnership with Adam Gilchrist, in which Langer scored a century in his usual dogged style. That innings came at a time when his place in the side was under serious question, and it was only Steve Waugh’s faith in him that kept him going.

But between Waugh’s faith, and Gilchrist’s example, Langer was able to turn himself from an ugly duckling to a.. well, not so ugly duckling. I think swan would be pushing it. But he could be a mighty fast scoring duck. By the end of that 1999/2000 summer, Langer was able to score hundreds at a run a ball in the fourth innings.

And that was before he reinvented himself into half of an amazingly successful opening partnership with Matthew Hayden. That partnership has declined somewhat, for the strange reason that although they are still very effective batsmen, their successes have not conincided recently.

So I’ll miss the Brown-Nosed Gnome, a harsh nickname given to him by critics who disliked his adulation of Steve Waugh. He was a rough diamond, a real hardcase who could dish it out and take it in good measure. He was a man who took playing for Australia seriously, and never lost sight of how good it is to represent your country.

McGrath calls it quits as well

So he’ll stay on until the World Cup, and then hang up his boots.

No Warne and no McGrath. Who will shower the opposition with verbal abuse and unplayable deliveries now?

Gilchrist scotches retirement talk

The ‘latest gossip‘ is that Justin Langer will retire after Sydney but that Matthew Hayden will play on until next summer at least.

I dunno. If Australia win the World Cup, I think Adam Gilchrist might call time.

Retirements?

There’s plenty of gossip going around that Warne and McGrath will retire at Sydney. Maybe. I think McGrath will say nothing but retire after the World Cup. As for Warne, I don’t think even he himself knows what he’s going to do.

But I’d still be a bit cautious on this one. I’ll wait till there’s an actual announcement.

UPDATE – Warnie has confirmed his retirement. Bugger!

Should Geraint Jones retire?

Well someone had to ask. Should Geraint Jones retire? Even by his own disappointing standards, his performance in this Test verged on the comical, culminating in a ridiculous, careless dismissal today when he was run out by Ponting at silly mid-off (I think that’s where he was, anyway).

Time to go? He’s on the selection panel for this series and, seeing as Duncan Fletcher won’t sack/drop anyone who helped win the Ashes in 2005, perhaps it’s time Jones did it for him. Desperate times call for outlandish remarks…

Blimey Marto, we didn’t mean it!

From the Corridor last week:

Martyn (Retail Manager): The irritating but smooth bloke you’re always trying to get rid of but customers love him and he sells just enough to keep his place.

I think there’s a bit more to Damien Martyn‘s retirement then meets the eye. With Martyn, there always is. He is a sensitive and wary character that doesn’t care for the spotlight, and he’s had enough of the guff that comes with being a Test cricketer. That’s what I am guessing has happened here.

He wasn’t always so shy though.

Martyn was the brightest star in a ‘new wave’ of talented young Australian batsmen that emerged around 1990. He captained Australia’s under 19 side that toured England, leading the likes of Adam Gilchrist. There were plenty of other good players in that ‘new wave’ like Matthew Hayden, Darren Lehmann and Justin Langer. But there was no doubt that ‘Marto’ was the best.

He was ‘fast-tracked’ as they say, and along with Justin Langer, he was cast into the furnace of facing Ambrose and Walsh and co at their height in 1992-93. He proved he had the makings, scoring a vital half century in the same match that Warne first made his name.

But he couldn’t score that breakthrough century that would have sealed his place, and there were stories going ’round the traps’ about his attitude. He had replaced Dean Jones in the side and brought not only a Jones-like talent, but a Jones-like mouth. When he specacularly failed to bring Australia home in a Test match the next summer, he was made the scapegoat, and cast back into the grind of State cricket.

The demotion was hard for Martyn and he lost his way for several years. He was even dropped from the West Australian side for a while, and it seemed a great talent had been lost.

I do not know what it was that turned things around for him. However, he got back into the side when Ricky Ponting injured his knee prior to the New Zealand tour of 1999/2000, and made some valuable contributions. However he was a different sort of player- still as elegant and obviously talented as ever, but clearly not altogether anxious to attract attention.

He piled on the runs though, and had the support of his team-mates. 2004 was his golden year, as he scored centuries against India and Sri Lanka that were crucial to series victories. In 2003 he had played in the World Cup Final with a broken finger and still scored a masterful innings, albiet completely over-shadowed by Ricky Ponting. And this year in the ICC Champion’s Trophy, he was playing as well as ever.

Well, whatever is behind this, good luck to ‘Marto’ in whatever he decides to do. He got married in the off-season, and maybe he just wants to settle down and enjoy life. He left plenty of fond memories in the minds of cricket lovers not just in Australia but around the world.

Damien Martyn announces retirement

Damien Martyn has retired from all cricket with immediate effect. Bolt out of the blue, this one. He’s been replaced by Andrew Symonds for the third Test – and the little-known Adam Voges.

Martyn, who was married in the off-season, has usually tried to avoid the spotlight and is travelling today. “I’m aware of the tremendous challenges facing Australian cricket, including this current Ashes series,” he said. “Such challenges require people who are more than 100% committed, dedicated, disciplined and passionate about the game, what it seeks to achieve and how those involved in the game can best serve cricket.

“I feel, therefore, it’s time for me to move aside. I have enjoyed everything the game has given me. I have gained from it more than I could have ever imagined.”

[...]

“I was flabbergasted when I got the call,” Symonds said. “I thought I was a million to one to play this series, especially when they went for Pup [Michael Clarke] when Watto was ruled out. I dug out my baggy green the other day when I was moving some stuff around and wondered if I would ever put it on my head again. That’s still up in the air but I’m obviously a fair bit closer to that moment than I thought I was.”

More at Cricinfo.

Comment of the week: SMS Warne

I should try and do a “Comment of the week” thing, somehow. Over 12,000 comments have been left here by you ‘orrible lot, not including my own unintelligible ramblings, so it reveals an interesting microsm into the weird world of a cricket fan. This is no better highlighted than the most recent comment, left by Aussie in Barnsley:

I am delighted that “Shane Warne – The Musical” is being developed. I am anticipating it will be like “I, Keano” on viagra, with a load of SMS action for good measure.

Unless your first name is Simone, I can’t think why anyone would dislike Warney. He is one of the greatest social experiments of all time – give someone the most sublime sporting talent, a sexual appetite that a would put a rabbit to shame, a mobile phone plan that includes unlimited free SMS’s and several thousand litres of peroxide and see what happens.

Cricket, and the world, will be much the poorer when Warney retires and starts texting women in retirement villages.