BLACKCAPS and Auckland Aces bowler Chris Martin is set to return to Canterbury for the 2009-10 season.
Martin and his wife are expecting their first child and are heading back to Christchurch to have family around them for the arrival.
Martin has had four seasons in Auckland and helped spearhead the Aces attack in title wins in State Championship, State Shield and State Twenty20.
“I’ve played some of my best cricket in Auckland, so it’s been a really enjoyable experience,” said Martin. “I’ll definitely leave with a whole bunch of new friends that I’ll keep in touch with.”
Auckland Cricket chief executive Andrew Eade said Martin had been a very popular and successful member of the Aces for the last four seasons. “We’ll be sorry to see him go, though obviously we understand and respect his decision to put family first.
“It is always hard to lose a player of his experience and ability, but we do have considerable depth in our fast bowling ranks and the opportunity is now there for some of our younger players to step up and establish themselves.”
Martin said he enjoyed being with Auckland as they were going through a phase of transitioning younger players into the side, and is looking forward to that aspect with the Canterbury Wizards.
“The Wizards are a very young side – I think there are only two players that I’ve played with before,” said Martin. “But I’m looking forward to working with (Wizards Coach) Bob Carter and I’m keen to contribute what I can as a senior player with the younger guys in the squad.”
Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said he was delighted to welcome Chris back home to Canterbury. “Chris is an international quality bowler and will bring a huge amount of experience to the Wizards squad,” said Germon.
“We have a young bowling group that will benefit enormously from having Chris beside them – and I’m sure the Canterbury public will look forward to seeing him in action in tandem with Shane Bond.”
Martin will move back to Christchurch over the winter in time for the 2009-10 season. He expects to be available for the Wizards in all forms of the game, subject to his selection for the BLACKCAPS.
Martin made his first-class debut for Canterbury in 1997-98, playing for the province through to 2004-05 before heading to Auckland.