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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Martin Love Q&A
Move made a century against Middlesex on Friday
Love has yet to play international cricket
Thrasy Petropoulos

Q. As someone who hasn't played international cricket, were you surprised that a county was interested in you?

A. To be honest, it wasn't something that I had given a lot of thought to.

I had always heard what hard work playing domestic cricket was and I was not sure if I would be up to back-to-back seasons, but it was too good an offer to pass over.

There was an Ashes series going on and by being in England here there was always a possibility that I would be called in as cover.

I was first contacted by Durham last February and asked if I would be interested in playing for them.

It was only on standby initially because they were still hopeful that Simon Katich would be available to play for them.

When Simon contacted them to say that he was not confident that he would be able to play a full season because of an injury that he had recently picked up, they came through with a firm offer which I accepted.

Simon Katich batting for Durham
Simon Katich was Love's predecessor at the Riverside
Q. So what nasties had you heard about the county cricket and how has your body fared?

A. Nothing bad, just that there was a lot of cricket played. As for the body, well let's just say that it's probably easier on batsmen than bowlers.

The thing that really is tiring is the travelling, particularly for Durham players who are four or five hours away from most other grounds.

You might get two days off between matches, but in reality one of those will be taken up with travel.

The trick is to look at the schedule and identify days that you can definitely take off and then make sure that you do something with it.

My girlfriend joined me recently and we had a good look around Scotland.

Q. What did Simon Katich tell you about Durham before you took over from him last year?

A. I had a half-hour chat with Simon when our sides met in the Pura Cup early last year. Basically, he said what a great bunch of guys were waiting for me.

You'd think that Durham and Queensland are poles apart, which geographically and weather-wise I suppose they are. But as far as the clubs are concerned they are very much the same.

They are both young sides and the people here will do just about anything for you if you ask.

It took me about a month to get used to the accent after which it was plain sailing.

Martin Love
Love is now settled in the north east
Q. How do you rate last season (1,364 runs at 50.51 but only three championship wins): very good or frustrating?

A. Not good enough. Sure, I ended up with a decent average but just look at the fifties - 13 of them and only one hundred.

If I had converted a few of those 60s we might have won a few more matches. You don't get far with half-centuries. It's big hundreds that win you matches.

Q. And you followed that with outstanding season for Queensland. Did the year at Durham help?

A. Probably the biggest help was that it kept me fine tuned and when I returned to Australia I hit the ground running.

I suppose there must have been technical improvements as well. You can't help but learn when you are exposed to different conditions, but it was noticeable that when I got on to low, slow wickets in Australia, similar to the ones in England, I did well.

I had never really scored runs before in Sydney and Adelaide before and came away with a hundred and double hundred for Queensland.

Q. I thought most Aussies complained that there was too much cricket played in England?

A. Oh, I wouldn't disagree with that. It would be almost impossible to sustain the intensity we have in in England, both in matches and in practice.

There are times in Australia when our coach tells us to disappear for a week and not to think about cricket. You barely get a day off over here.

I don't understand how you are supposed to improve if you don't train and play hard.

What this country does teach you is endurance. That's probably why you find guys here still playing in their late-30s. They're the ones who learnt long ago how to cope.

See also:

27 May 02 | Counties
20 May 02 | Cricket
29 Nov 01 | Durham
Links to more Counties stories are at the foot of the page.

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