Martyn set for role back on stage
At first glance, Damien Martyn would seem a perfect fit with the Ahmedabad Rockets. After all, little is known about either at present.
For so long the enigma of the Australian batting order, Martyn stunned the cricket world last season when, with the Ashes still in the balance, he retired from all forms of cricket.
His best friend and captain, Ricky Ponting, was among those caught off-guard by the timing and nature of Martyn's departure, and even his family members were unaware of his intentions until the 11th hour.
Perhaps it wasn't such a stretch, then, to envisage Martyn making his comeback in unusual circumstances.
While many of his former teammates have lined their pockets by signing with the International Cricket Council-sanctioned Indian Premier League, Martyn instead has opted for the relative obscurity of the breakaway Indian Cricket League, linking with a team, Ahmedabad, which has yet to play a game. Unpredictable, as ever.
Martyn will captain the ICL's newest team in its debut match this weekend, leading a team that includes long-time teammate Jason Gillespie, former Zimbabwean captain Heath Streak and former West Indian batsman Wavell Hinds.
Although short on match practice — the Adelaide Test against England last season remains his most recent competitive game — Martyn is nonetheless excited by taking the field again. "It was an individual choice, and it was my own decision to join the Indian Cricket League," Martyn said on arrival in India this week. "I missed cricket, and so I am back again to play competitive cricket in the Indian Cricket League.
"I will be a part of the Ahmedabad Rockets team, which for me will be the priority in the coming season. Jason Gillespie will be on my side, and I am looking forward to playing with him. We will also benefit from the experience of our coach John Emburey."
Save for a paid interview on a current affairs program, little has been heard or seen of Martyn since his mid-Ashes retirement.
He eventually emerged in a corporate box at last year's Hopman Cup alongside radio broadcaster Alan Jones. Since then, he has proven similarly reclusive, living on the outskirts of Perth and tending to horses.
"I was in Australia itself, enjoying my time out there in the countryside," Martyn said. "My wife is a professional horse rider, and we own a horse farm near Perth … I guess I have learnt something about horse riding in a year or so, and it has certainly helped me in retaining my fitness level."
Although his announcement created a maelstrom of controversy, not least within his own dressing room, Martyn does not seem to regret the circumstances in which he left the game.
"I guess it depends on the player himself — he knows the best when to retire," he said. "I took the decision on instinct."