A Tribute to Wingless Kiwi
Most of the players are remembered for the runs they scored and the wickets they took, some players are memorized for the empire they built through their earning from cricket, while some others are known for the feat they embarked in the associations of cricketing fraternity. But, very few cricketers nostalgias us the spirit & decency they kept during their playing days. One such great cricketer is the former skipper of New Zealand – ‘Martin Crowe’.
Martin Crowe, a cricketer and a personality of unique calibre. Fate disbursed him under the green sods on 3rd March 2016 at the age of 53 years due to cancer. The trivia of this fatal disease was detected during October 2012 and since then its effect kept pronouncing on his health. His cricket was long ago affected, but he still continued playing for club cricket. Last year in 2015 when World Cup was organised in Australia – New Zealand he was playing for Cornwall Club where he scored 25* runs and on the next day he was enlisted in ‘ICC Hall of Fame’.
Martin Crowe gave a new confidence to New Zealand cricket. He has a career record of 5,444 runs in test cricket at an average of 45.63 which comprises of 17 centuries; whereas he scored 4,704 run in ODI cricket at an average of 38.55 which has 4 centuries in it.
During those days neither New Zealand played too many matches nor there were as many league tournaments arranged in the past as they are arranged today. Perhaps, this is a reason for which Martin Crowe couldn’t play as many matches as he should have played. His record against India isn’t any surprise as he was quite a reputed cricketer in India. It all began during 1987 Reliance World Cup where he had three half centuries against his name of the six innings that he played and in addition the catch which he took of Zimbabwe’s Dave Houghton was the best of the tournament.
It’s very important to mention about 1992 World Cup to speak the most about Martin Crowe’s cricketing achievement. Martin Crowe was one of the highest run scorers in 1992 World Cup. In 1992 World Cup New Zealand played semi-final against Pakistan but unfortunately they failed to reach the final due to some gracious batting of Inzamam-Ul-Haq. In 1992 World Cup Martin Crowe’s experimentation with the team’s combination was exhilarating. He introduced his spinner Deepak Patel with the new ball so that the opponent batsman could not score quick runs. This strategy proved to be quite successful which was later hijacked by many other teams as well. Similarly, Martin Crowe shuffled his talented middle-order batsman as opening specialists. Especially, Mark Gratbach’s opening in 1992 World Cup proved to be a boon for the Kiwis. The combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly as an opening pair implemented by Indians was one such an impact of Martin Crowe’s experimentation.
This truth cannot be hidden that fitness had a great impact on Martin Crowe’s career. However, this did not dismantle his connectivity with cricket. After his retirement he kept writing about the game and later became executive producer of Sky New Zealand Broadcast. At Sky New Zealand he took the initiative of ‘Cricket Max’, which beholds the credit of initiating T20 Cricket. It was believed that when T20 cricket began, Martin Crowe’s knowledge can be of vital importance. Royal Challengers Bangalore appointed him as Chief Cricketing Executive in 2008. The unsuccessful journey of RCB under the leadership of Rahul Dravid was taken as his own responsibility by Martin Crowe in that season. This flop show of RCB impacted him so deeply after landing in New Zealand he wrote, ‘The sweat during the sleep at night awakens me. I keep thinking of how we can win. We lost the matches not because our team wasn’t good, but because we did not play as a team together which could have helped us winning’.
Martin Crowe was a great cricketing brain. Everybody was aware of the repercussion after he was diagnosed with the fatal disease of cancer. Martin Crowe faced his 53 years of inexplicable life with a brave heart and he was much braver during his last few years of life.
May his soul rest in peace!