I never watched Martin Crowe bat.
At least, I don’t think I did. If I did, I can’t recall much anymore. Perhaps, clips of his batting are available on YouTube to refresh my memory.
Remember these were the days before satellite television and the matches telecast were mostly India games or the World Cup.
Martin Crowe, however, will go down as New Zealand’s greatest batsman accompanied by Sir Richard Hadlee as their greatest all-rounder.
It was an era that saw a small cricketing nation punch much above its weight.
Besides his stellar batsmanship, Crowe is also remembered for his innovative ODI captaincy during the 1992 World Cup.
This was the Cup that saw a prodigal South Africa return to the fold. Jonty Rhodes’ fielding exploits and a heart-breaking exit in the semi-finals against England defined their World Cup campaign.
The Cup was Pakistan’s though; from almost being eliminated to clinching five games in a row to secure Imran Khan’s dream of a cancer hospital named for his mother.
New Zealand were co-hosts—much like last year’s World Cup where they went one better and made the final under Brendon McCullum’s stewardship.
Crowe made some dynamic changes to the game—opening the batting with a pinch-hitter, Mark Greatbatch. This set the stage for Sanath Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharna’s pairing in the 1996 World Cup co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
But it was his utilization of off-spinner Dipak Patel at the top of the bowling that paid rich dividends and had their opponents in a tizzy.
Martin Crowe continued to love his cricket, writing for CricInfo while battling his terminal disease. He also returned to the first-class game temporarily but his cancer relapsed.
The Kiwi great is no more. His funeral was held yesterday.
May his soul rest in peace.
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