Cricket legend Martin Crowe, 1962-2016

Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Mar 2016, 12:58pm

Cricket legend Martin Crowe, 1962-2016

Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Mar 2016, 12:58pm

UPDATED 6.44PM: New Zealand's greatest test batsman has died.

Martin Crowe passed away today after a prolonged battle with lymphoma.

Newstalk ZB understands he returned to hospice care this week.

Crowe is survived by wife Lorraine Downes, daughter Emma and step-children Hilton and Jasmine. He was 53.

LISTEN ABOVE: Cricket commentator Bryan Waddle speaks to Larry Williams about Martin Crowe

PHOTOS: Martin Crowe - Kiwi Cricketing Legend

"It is with heavy hearts that the family of Martin Crowe, MBE advise his death," his family said in a statement on Cricinfo.

"Diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal double hit lymphoma he passed away peacefully today, Thursday 3rd March in Auckland surrounded by family."

"The family request privacy at this time."

FROM THE ZB ARCHIVES: Listen to Martin Crowe speak to John Cowan in 2013

A funeral service will be held for Martin Crowe at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral next Friday.

The service will begin at 1pm.

Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore said it would be a time to give thanks for Martin's life.

"The funeral is a time for those who loved Martin and those he loved, as well as for friends, and for the sports community," he said.

LISTEN: Honouring our best ever batsman

One of the finest athletes this country has ever produced, Crowe made a considerable mark both on and off the pitch during a life spent in sport.

Crowe's 14 years spent wearing the silver fern saw the world's best bowling attacks dispatched to all-corners by a batsman blessed with a wide array of strokes.

In 1991 his abundant ability saw him named New Zealand sportsman of the year and awarded an MBE for services to cricket. Crowe was inducted into the New Zealand sports hall of fame a decade later, having continued a love affair with cricket that extended long beyond his premature retirement.

Crowe captained his country from 1990-1993, mixing his prodigious style at the crease with a number of innovations, including opening the bowling with spinners, implementing unexpected field placements and utilising pinch-hitting batsmen.

LISTEN: Kevin Milne's encounter with Martin Crowe

Born on September 22, 1962, in Henderson, Auckland, Crowe's father was former domestic cricketer Dave, while brother Jeff also went on to captain the New Zealand cricket side. The siblings were cousins of Hollywood actor Russell.

A stylish batsman, Crowe made his test debut in 1982 at the tender age of 19, batting at No 6 against Australia and experiencing the rare distinction of being run out in his maiden innings.

He struggled early in his career - later saying his international call-up came "way too soon" - and he failed to reach double figures in his first six innings. But his immense talent soon became clear, scoring the first of his 17 test centuries in his eighth test against England.

Crowe's career highlight with the bat will, unfortunately, forever be married to his most regrettable playing stroke, edging behind off Arjuna Ranatunga to be dismissed for 299 at the Basin Reserve. At the time, in 1991, no New Zealand batsman had reached triple figures, a drought that extended until Brendon McCullum's innings of 302 came 23 years after Crowe's failure and, fittingly, at the same venue.

Tributes to Martin Crowe

Martin Crowe's cousin, Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, paid tribute on Twitter:

The Prime Minister has also joined tributes, describing him as a truly great sportsman with the sharpest cricketing mind, and one of our finest-ever batsmen.

John Key said the 53 year-old will be sorely missed.

He said many "were touched by the battle that Martin Crowe had", and were moved by his determination to be at the first game of the Cricket World Cup last year.

"And of course our great sympathies go to Lorraine and his children," Key said.

Martin Crowe's godfather said there have been moments of hope, during Martin Crowe's battle with lymphoma.

Gordon Mace said he too was diagnosed with cancer at around the same time.

"I said not long after that when his was getting worse and mine was getting better, 'god I wish it was the other way around, my life's nearly over, you've got so much to give.'

LISTEN: Former Black Cap Dion Nash speaks about Martin Crowe

Friend and fellow cricketer Danny Morrison said Martin Crowe's death will rock the cricketing fraternity globally.

"I am blown away, as much as we've known about it for some time, it just shows the character of the man as well who fought this long, hung in there, and be able to see that World Cup back in New Zealand. I think that was pretty special, I know he would have cherished that."

LISTEN: Martin Crowe 'a tortured genius' - Danny Morrison

Sports commentator Phill Gifford said Martin Crowe's career is legendary for New Zealanders and he'll be sorely missed.

"It's the legacy he will leave to sports fans in New Zealand, whether they'd met him or not.

"The fact is that he was an extraordinary gifted sportsman in every respect."

Former Auckland cricketer John Cushen played with Martin Crowe, and said he was like the royalty of cricket.

"There was a book written about him called 'Tortured Genius'. He definitely was a genius and he did have a few, I suppose, issues, but he'll be sorely missed," he said. "Amazing guy."

 WATCH BELOW: Martin Crowe's moving NZC Awards interview

Crowe was particularly close to senior Black Caps batsmen Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, who are about to fly to India for the World Twenty20 tournament.

Captain Kane Williamson said the team are slowly coming to terms with the news.

"There are two or three guys on this side that were very close with him as a mentor, so I'm sure they've taken that very hard."

WATCH: Martin Crowe on The Nutters Club in 2013