Nelson coach Marty Kain signs up for Greek cricketing odyssey


Marty Kain bats during the Ford Trophy one day match between Central Stags and Canterbury at Napier in 2015. The Nelson all-rounder is now based in San Diego where he runs a cricket coaching business.

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Marty Kain bats during the Ford Trophy one day match between Central Stags and Canterbury at Napier in 2015. The Nelson all-rounder is now based in San Diego where he runs a cricket coaching business.

A former Nelson first-class cricketer is about to pad up for a new odyssey in showcasing the sport’s emerging talent.

Marty Kain has been appointed as head coach of Thessaloniki Star in the inaugural 2021 Greece T20 Premier League.

A former ACOB, Nelson Griffins, Central Districts and Canterbury all-rounder, Kain also played several stints in England before retiring from professional cricket in 2017.

He now operates the MK Cricket academy in San Diego where he lives with his wife.

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Kain said it was exciting to give smaller nations and developing players a chance to showcase their talents.

“It certainly wasn’t a tough sell when I found out where we’d be located.”

“Obviously in some countries cricket is just meandering along but there is some astonishing growth in some of these places that others aren’t aware of.”

Organised by Delhi-based sports company Sports Addiction Group in association with the Hellenic Cricket Federation, Greece’s governing body, the inaugural edition of GPL 2021 will run from April 17-29 2021 in Corfu.

The professional Twenty 20 cricket league will comprise franchises from six major cities of Greece – Athens Tigres, Dangerous Patras, Trikala Venom, Crete Rhinos, Corfu Lions and Thessaloniki Star.

The playing eleven of each team must contain three Greek and eight foreign players from different parts of the world selected through nomination and selection process.

The tournament is being promoted as a grassroot level initiative to discover budding cricket talent from all over the world, while boosting Greece’s own profile as a cricketing nation.

Other such leagues have raised the profile of previously unknown players in the past, including

Pavel Florin, the Romania all-rounder whose unique bowling action in the European Cricket League attracted widespread attention on social media.

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Romanian cricketer Pavel Florin gained a cult following playing for his country's Twenty20 champions Cluj in the European Cricket League tournament which was beamed around the world.

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Romanian cricketer Pavel Florin gained a cult following playing for his country’s Twenty20 champions Cluj in the European Cricket League tournament which was beamed around the world.

Trials would be held around the world with coaches and selectors able to watch online and build their rosters.

Kain joined an experienced range of coaches, including former Indian Premier League player South African Dillon Du Preez as well as Greece’s national coach Othonas Nikitas.

Despite the coronavirus situation in the United States, Kain has been able to resume coaching in the last month.

He was hopeful that the global situation would have improved enough to allow the GPL to proceed by the start of April.

His clientele was largely ex-pats from established cricketing nations. However, he had seen a growing interest in the sport from the American public.

“You’ve definitely got that interest but it is a numbers game – it’s a massive market but just doesn’t have the infrastructure and coaching yet to push them to that next level – but from all accounts there’s some big things coming so that might change in the years ahead.”

The 32-year-old is now just three months shy of qualifying for the United States, an opportunity he was keen to take up if the opportunity arose.

“I haven’t played that much cricket lately but I’ve certainly hit a lot of balls.”

“To be honest the body is feeling better now than it did while I was playing – there’s definitely a bit left in the tank.”

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