Legendary New Zealand captain cum batsman Martin Crowe died at 53 after fighting a long battle with cancer. The entire cricket community was struck with grief as the news of Martin Crowe’s death waved through the world. Cricket lost one of its gems to cancer. He defined a new style of cricket two decades ago before McCullum led New Zeland to the final of the World Cup 2015.
A strong frame, square shoulder, deep chest cricketer was eroded by lymphoma. Crowe, the great batsman and a charismatic leader revealed about his life-threatening diseases in October 2012. He was diagnosed with Cancer in September 2014. But, his fate was unchanged.
“Saddened to hear of the passing of a great cricketer Martin Crowe – the best New Zealand captain I played against,” Imran Khan, who was the Pakistan captain of the 1992 World Cup, said.
He was first Black Cap legend who made cricket popular in New Zealand. He was an elegant batsman with a magnitude of heroism.
The arrival of youngsters in International Cricket took place in February of 1982 A 19-year-old boy was left in front of wolves of Australia. He was hurt and suffered failures. But, being a warrior he fought back and had won the heart of cricket critics and fans. His illustrative career spanned almost 14 before he bade adieu the game in November 1995. .
He was first New Zealand cricketer who reached close to triple hundred, but, talismanic Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga denied him that one run in 1991 Basin Reserve Test which eventually ended with a draw.
Martin hailing from a cricketing clan, his father Dave played first-grade cricket and brother also captained New Zealand. He was soon regarded as the best young batsman in the world, with Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack announced him cricketer of the year in 1985.
But, Martin is well known for his tactics he innovated in 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. He was the first captain to introduce spin bowling in the first over of the innings and used Mark Greatbatch as a pinch hitter to take advantage of fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs.Crowe’s idea to open the innings with a pinch has become prevalent in World Cricket
Crowe’s idea to open the innings with a pinch hitter has become prevalent in World Cricket these days. His idea later gave cricket opener like Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum who only knows to hit the ball hard.
He opened the bowling with Dipak Patel with a unique fielding placement that confused and many opposition teams. Crowe captaincy and sensible batting led New Zealand to the semifinal of the 1992 World Cup against Pakistan after topping the league table. But, Pakistan, the eventual champion, with a young Inzamam-ul-Haq rang the bell of his arrival in international played a swashbuckling innings that ended New Zealand’s World Cup campaign.
But, people who watched Crowe’s batting and captaincy in both Test and ODI could not forget him as he left a legacy to his fan base.
As the generation of 21st century adores recently retired New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who led Black Caps to the final of the World Cup 2015 with blitzkrieg batting and aggressive captaincy, cricket fans of the 1980s and 1990s cherish Crowe for the same reason. But, the comparison between Brendon McCullum and Martin Crowe is a farce as Crowe laid out a spectrum for next generations of New Zealand cricketers to developed game and bring the crowd to the stands swimming in that galaxy. McCullum just followed Crowe and enriched the game of cricket in New Zealand and across the world.
Crowe played 77 Test matches and scored 5444 runs at an average of 45.36 with 17 hundred and 18 fifty. He was first New Zealand cricketer to score five thousand Test runs. In ODIs, he scored 4704 runs at an average of 38.55 in 143 matches. He scored four hundred and 34 fifty.
Martin was not an old-fashioned cricketer. He welcomes T20 cricket in order to save the game from losing the popularity.
During the post-retirement life, Crowe worked out a plan for a T20 game called Cricket Max for Sky Television, his current employers, which has told the success story of T20 to the British Cricket officials and helped to lay the foundation for the modern day Twenty revolution.
He also contributed New Zealand being a coach for many current New Zealand stars like Ross Taylor, the foundation of New Zealand middle order. Crowe also helped Taylor during the tough time as the latter was replaced by Brendon McCullum as captain in 2012.
Taylor regained his form during England tour and scored a 298 against Australia at Perth, the highest score by any position player at Perth and Australian soil. Taylor was found philosophical about his mentor Crowe, “Until we meet again Hogan. Love Tuisi.”
Alongside Taylor, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill, who hit aa double hundred against West Indies in the 2015 World Cup, also sought guidance from Crowe on batting technique among other things.
A grip stricken Guptill posted an image of him with Martin Crowe in Instagram, where he said, “Today we lost a legend of our game. Not only was he a great sportsman but, more importantly, a great human. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and friend to help me through the last couple of years. You inspired me to become a better person on and off the field. I will miss you.”
Now, as Crowe left us we can only keep him in our heart as the master of innovation and followed his path to enrich the game of cricket.