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Cricket-New Zealand rains on debutant Martin's parade

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Greg Stutchbury

DUNEDIN, New Zealand, March 6 (Reuters) - Bruce Martin had been waiting 13 years to be presented with his first test cap, which finally came on Wednesday when he was named in the New Zealand side to face England in the opener of their three-match series.

Unfortunately, the 32-year-old spinner's actual playing debut was delayed a bit longer with the first day in Dunedin completely washed out after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and sent England in.

"It's pretty exciting getting handed that cap first thing in the morning," Martin told reporters after play was finally abandoned at 1615 local (0315 GMT).

"To get through warmups and get a roll out there before it happened (then) it was a little frustrating to sit around the shed all day and think how it's going to pan out."

Martin's wait at a damp and chilly University Oval was nothing compared to the patience he had exhibited in finally making the test side.

The left arm spinner was originally named in a test squad in early 2000 to face Australia when Daniel Vettori was injured but was made 12th man.

He then spent more than a decade in the international wilderness, carving out a respectable first class career but always seemingly thwarted by Vettori's longevity.

He was recalled to the squad for their tour of South Africa late last year, but again excluded from the playing team.

Vettori's long-term Achilles injury thrust him back into the frame, and he was named in the 13-man squad for Dunedin.

Expectations were that he would debut at University Oval, although local media speculated earlier this week that New Zealand were weighing a four-pronged pace attack.

"I went to bed last night a little bit unsure and there was a lot of that talk around," Martin said with a smile when asked about his thoughts in the leadup. "But I knew I had half a chance.

"I bowled pretty well in the nets yesterday, I was pretty happy with the work I did there. It worked out for the best."

McCullum waited until the team's morning warmup to tell Martin the good news and former New Zealand pace bowler Simon Doull presented the spinner with his test cap.

"I never gave up hope, I just needed a kick up the backside and a bit of a change and moving up to Auckland helped," Martin added of his move north for the 2010/2011 domestic season.

"I changed the way I played cricket and found a bit of enjoyment in the game which was lacking the last few years at ND (Northern Districts) where I was drifting a bit.

"I've been close a couple of times and been on a couple of tours and named in that first team in 1999 ... so it's nearly 14 years of toiling away.

"To get it was very special and it was nice that Doully was there to hand me that cap. I played my first year at Northern Districts with (him).

"It was pretty special."

(Editing by Ian Ransom)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130306/cricket-new-zealand-rains-debutant-martins-parade