Martin Crowe with Sambit Bal

The author at Crowe's Auckland home late in 2014

Sambit Bal / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Cover story

Remembering Marty

On his first death anniversary, Martin Crowe's editor and close friend recalls his inspiring final years

Sambit Bal |

The day Marty left us, I had exchanged messages with his wife, the generous and lovely Lorraine Downes. It was morning in Auckland, where he was, night in Bangalore for me. His body was weak, Lorraine said, but his spirit was still up. She showed him my message and he responded with a joke that often featured in our conversations. "He is still making us laugh, Sambit," she wrote.

I had an early-morning flight to Delhi and by the time I landed, he was gone, six months short of his 54th birthday. I had known him closely only for the last four years of it, but I would still venture that not a day of his adult life had been ordinary. He spent it searching variously for the following: excellence, acceptance, love, harmony, and the purpose of life. Most of his golden career had been full of torment, anxiety and self-loathing, before enlightenment - and the love of a good woman - lit up his last years, despite two bouts of cancer.

I had seen death up close. I lit the pyres of my maternal grandparents, who had raised me, and an early-morning phone call brought me the news of my father's sudden passing. But I had never been privy to a life lived in the knowledge of premature death. As a fan, Martin Crowe was among my favourite cricketers; as a professional, a cherished columnist; but as a friend confronting the deadliest inevitability, he became my hero and inspiration. On occasions when the thought became too dark to bear, it was he who comforted me.

Illness cured him, he often said, because it made him grasp the futility of the battles that raged inside. As he battled for life, all of that seemed trivial

Where would you find a man who accepted cancer as his teacher, as the path to enlightenment? An intense, complex, conflicted and emotional person for a large part of his life, he finally found lasting peace in simplicity. Illness cured him, he often said, because it made him grasp the futility of the battles that raged inside. His playing career had been a struggle to win love and respect with runs and hundreds, and it had brought torment, bitterness and loneliness. As he battled for life, all of that seemed trivial.

Lorraine Downes on her husband

Right from the beginning of our relationship, I nicknamed Marty "my beautiful man" and that is what he was to me - his heart so pure and transparent, so honest and so full of love. He was passionate, romantic, fun, and could be as cheeky as hell. From the day I met him, I found I could truly be just me with him, and I felt his genuine love so strongly. He was everything I ever dreamed for in a partner. His love for me, for us, our children and family, was relentless. I know how blessed we have been and I will be forever grateful to my him. Read the full piece

He came to cherish friendship, companionship and love. He repaired his frayed relationship with his brother Jeff, sought out a few of his old team-mates, built a stronger bond with his daughter Emma, his only biological child, but most of all, he found his greatest love, Lorraine. And he discovered that, unlike with cricket, pain wasn't part of the package. The process renewed him and healed him.

Marty could now look at his younger self with remarkable objectivity and detachment. "He was not a man you'd have liked," he would often say. "I don't like him." But it was part of the healing process that he was able to forgive, including that man he didn't like. It liberated him.

I will forever count among my great blessings that this is a man I was friends with.

Marty and Lorraine

Marty and Lorraine © Lorraine Downes

This piece would have never been written if not for a chat with Iain O'Brien, the former New Zealand cricketer, in a coffee shop in Mumbai during the last IPL. I tried writing on the day Marty died, but it had been impossible. It was too personal, too raw, and too immediate.

And what material could I draw on? Which conversation? Which email? Which text message? What would help draw a portrait that made cricket lovers understand him better, and what was too personal for public consumption?

After a few attempts over the next couple of months, I gave up.

But in the coffee shop that day, the conversation turned to Marty, and it was revealing how little Iain knew about him. His only direct interaction with Marty had been a brief encounter at a book-signing event in 1995, when he was a still a student. "There was no one there, he was sitting alone in the mall in Palmerston North. Me and a mate, we were in awe, but, as you do, mocked him a little for 'having no mates'. He took it well, asked us to come over, and we chatted to him for maybe ten minutes."

He had been given a 5% chance to survive a year. "It's so unfair," he wrote. It would be the only time I sensed despair in him

As New Zealand's greatest batsman, Marty had his country's admiration but not its unqualified affection. Some of his team-mates regarded him as insular and temperamental; his relationship with the national media was tetchy; and for many recent cricketers, he had been a remote, slightly aloof figure. "As players, we all thought he was amazing." Iain said. "But we knew he was a hard person to get to know. Different, difficult. Only very few knew him, and probably more people outside of New Zealand knew him and had friendships with him."

After he had heard me speak about Marty for a few minutes, Iain said, "You must write. His country ought to know him a little better."

The first chapter in our relationship was rough. I asked him to offer his comments on wisden.com during India's tour of New Zealand in 2002-03. One of his columns, ghosted by a colleague of mine, had a paragraph praising Daryl Tuffey and contained a generalisation about Maoris. It was a stray sentence and went unnoticed for three weeks, when a newspaper picked it up and ran a whole story on it. A maelstrom followed.

Marty issued an apology and said his words had been misrepresented. Sentences sometimes get rearranged in editing - I regret that we didn't grasp the sensitivity of the issue and play the piece back to him - and the column had been up for days. He withdrew from writing and we didn't correspond for years after.

Play

Crowe during the Cricket Monthly's Talking Cricket interview, in 2014

My memory is vague on what got us talking again - perhaps he was moved enough by something he read on ESPNcricinfo to write to me - but I remember him coming aboard in 2010 for Time Out, a discussion show on the site, hosted by Harsha Bhogle. Then he accepted an article commission for a magazine we produced before the 2011 World Cup.

Every writer is unique, yet Marty was something else. Among the cricketer-writers I have worked with, only Bob Woolmer wrote as quickly, but Woolmer mainly cared for thoughts, not the crafting of sentences. Marty cared about every little thing: the idea, the words, structure, punctuation, rhythm, flow, and a bit of dash. His writing routine had me out of breath.

At the start of his tenure as a regular columnist, I would send out briefs. But that soon became superfluous. Marty would email in an idea in the morning (his time), follow up with a draft, then another, and another, and by the time I woke up, there would be five or six in the mailbox. After a while I stopped responding before I got to work, because there would usually be a couple more. Once we both got used to the process, he'd say, "Okay, it's final. You can read it now."

He was always open to feedback and to making more changes. If the headline or the strapline wasn't to his liking, he made sure we knew. There was certainty and clarity in what he wanted to say, and he wanted to make sure that nothing was lost in translation.

Two weeks into the World Cup, Marty emailed me. "I am coming to Sydney for the final leg. I will finish the last part of our deal"

"I am sick of being misunderstood," he would often say.

Barely a few minutes after Marty and I met for the first time, he spotted my colleague Jarrod Kimber, whom he had read but never met, looked at me with smiling eyes and said: "You have quite a talent for assembling damaged people around you." After he had reeled off a series of names, his index finger pointed at his own chest: "Starting with me."

"Those are the only ones I can afford," I mumbled in reply.

It was 11 years since we had known each other. We had exchanged a million emails, briefly worked in the same city, yet the only time I had seen him physically was from the stands in 1995. It was his last series as an international cricketer, and it wasn't a happy one. He spent a lot of his time on the tour nursing his thigh and knee, with a coach he didn't like and a captain he couldn't respect. The bitterness of those days was long behind him. The man I had come to know through our exchanges was affectionate, mellow and spiritual. When we shook hands and embraced in a hotel lobby in Mumbai, the intimacy and warmth felt wholesome and natural.

It had taken a bit of persuasion to get him there. He hadn't left home since recovering from lymphoma in 2012. And his last stay in the country, as a mentor to Royal Challengers Bangalore, hadn't been pleasant. So when I suggested that he should come over to work in ESPNcricinfo's Bangalore studio as an analyst for the 2014 World T20, he took his time to decide. He wasn't sure if he wanted to get back into a studio. In the end, it was a leap of faith. "I am trusting myself in your hands," he wrote. His only conditions: we should find him a yoga teacher, and some opportunities to train kids. Easy.

Clockwise from top left: Crowe with Tim Roxborogh; with Sachin Tendulkar on World Cup final day, 2015; introduced to WG Grace by Andy Zaltzman; with Sambit Bal, Ed Cowan and Gideon Haigh

Clockwise from top left: Crowe with Tim Roxborogh; with Sachin Tendulkar on World Cup final day, 2015; introduced to WG Grace by Andy Zaltzman; with Sambit Bal, Ed Cowan and Gideon Haigh

The first stop was Mumbai, for an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ESPNcricinfo, which featured a special award for "the cricketer of the generation". Sachin Tendulkar accepted the award, and spoke about how as a young cricketer he had tried to imitate Crowe's walk to the crease. Rahul Dravid was there too and Marty's first evening on that trip to India was spent in good company.

Spending two weeks with him allowed me to fully grasp the depth of his love for and commitment to cricket. Most of us who work in cricket are fortunate to build a career around a sport we love, and we feel a sense of responsibility towards its well-being, but Marty's devotion was rare. It wasn't about professional obligation; it sprang from faith in the nobility and worth of cricket.

He was at once a classicist and modernist. He adored Test cricket and the batsmanship of Dravid, but he loved what night Test cricket and the pink ball brought to the game. His mind always looked for ways to move the game along. Cricket Max, his brainchild, was more radical and revolutionary than T20, but he hated what big bats were doing to the game. He championed inclusiveness and a bigger World Cup, yet he wanted one-day cricket to be reduced to 40 overs. He didn't mind technology in decision-making, but was convinced that the DRS was half-baked.

And nothing depressed him more than ugliness on the field. He wrote on David Warner and the culture of sledging, and days before he died he urged to me to start a campaign for the dignity of women in the wake of Chris Gayle's public embarrassment of a television reporter.

Because he could see the finish line, each day, each moment had become more precious. "I want to slow things down and soak life in," he said

He once took umbrage to my suggestion that cricket defined him. Indeed it was a simplification: his horizon had extended much beyond cricket, but he could never stop caring for the game. Gideon Haigh captured it beautifully in the obituary on ESPNcricinfo: "Martin's love of cricket was fathomless: so passionate he needed to break from it from time to time; so profound he always found his way back to the fold."

My last phone conversation with him, when it was apparent that speaking was becoming an effort, featured a dissection of Ross Taylor's batting.

We were born in the same month, five years and six days apart, and I always got to wish him first. In September 2014 I didn't receive an acknowledgement for five days. And when it came, it was devastating. I was in a taxi, headed to my first visit to the Taj Mahal, when the email landed.

There was a relapse of the cancer. Marty had been certain that he would fight it off, but this time it was terminal. He had been given a 5% chance to survive a year. "It's so unfair," he wrote. It would be the only time I sensed despair in him. It took me three days to summon the courage, and the words, to respond.

The souvenir cap that marked Crowe's 50th Test, at Lord's

The souvenir cap that marked Crowe's 50th Test, at Lord's Sambit Bal / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Three months later I travelled to Auckland to spend Christmas Eve with him. The long flight felt interminable, and I barely caught a wink in the few hours spent at the airport hotel. The phone rang early to announce someone waiting for me in the lobby. I raced down the corridor, willed the elevator to plunge faster, and nearly ran into the man waiting to get in. And then I saw him. He was standing in reception, relaxed, with his back resting against the counter, sipping water from a bottle, his large frame betraying no signs of the deadly enemy it harboured. Only the wig was gone - the last bit of pretence, as he would describe it - and there was shining baldness, radiating monk-like tranquility.

His eyes brightened as he spotted me and smiled. I resisted the impulse to run to him and hug him tight. I walked slowly instead, framing that sight in my mind, and trying not to pass my anxiety on to him. The green linen shirt was a nod to me. I had taken him to my regular shirt shop in Mumbai and he had had a few tailored there.

The day was full. We had breakfast at a waterfront restaurant and drove into the Auckland CBD before I met his family at home. We then took his daughter Emma out for lunch, and while returning stopped to survey the land on which he planned to build her a house, using the money the insurance company had already paid because his illness was terminal.

He didn't look like a man living in fear of the end. There was, in his disposition, a quiet and graceful acceptance that the ultimate inevitability had come early for him, and because he could see the finish line, each day, each moment had become more precious. "I want to slow things down and soak life in," he said. A man who had offered to design his casket had sent him a drawing. I thought it was morbid. He found it both funny and touching.

I felt like I was in a fairy-tale when I picked him up from the hotel on the morning of the final. I was going to skip writing in order to watch him watch his team

He had chosen not to pursue conventional treatments after his final diagnosis, opting for alternative therapies, mainly to alleviate pain. It was, in a sense, the most definitive act of acceptance, of making peace. He saw it not as heroic but rational.

When I asked Lorraine to tell me more about his thinking, she sent me these words, strung together from what Marty had put down himself:

Marty made that decision based on a growing spiritual trust within himself. He felt what was being offered by way of a treatment plan was greatly flawed in his mind - that he would go through all of that treatment and still the brutal reality was five per cent make it to 12 months. The time he possibly had left he wanted to fulfil his life's intention, to keep doing the inner work with faith and gratitude and he did that and found his peace. He was free, he had swapped ego for love.

A week before his death, I was trying to download a copy of the Hindi film Anand, which Marty's life now mirrored. Among the many memorable lines from the protagonist, I would have loved Marty to learn to say this one: "Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi" [Life should be large, not long]. Unlike in the film, the script was his own.

With Mark Nicholas in the stands at Lancaster Park in 1997

With Mark Nicholas in the stands at Lancaster Park in 1997 © PA Photos

That afternoon in Auckland, I went to watch him play tennis with his friend Tim Roxborogh, radio host and travel writer, nearly two decades younger. Tim had so horrified Marty when he turned up for their first game of tennis in surf shorts and a singlet that he took him home after the game and gave him several pairs of sports shorts and half a dozen silk tennis shirts. Tim insists that he had occasionally taken a set off Marty, but not that day. Marty hardly lost a game.

From his tennis, even while ailing, it was easy to see the foundations of batting greatness: precise footwork, economy of movement, ball sense, timing, and above all, anticipation. While his opponent, with stronger legs and deeper lungs, scurried around the court, Marty always seemed to be where the ball was. Watching him play, I said to him, was like watching Roger Federer in slow motion. He guffawed wildly, but I was only half-joking.

Tim finally beat him in a match a couple of weeks later, but by now illness had weakened Marty further. "We could've kept playing another month or so after that match," Tim says, "but he loved that the final game we'd play would be the only time I beat him."

That evening Marty took it upon himself to cook the meal - steak, lobster, and chicken tikka for the Indian touch - and we sat down to eat on his terrace as the sun went down. There was conversation, laughter, and dairy-free gelato because he remembered I was lactose-intolerant. Later we moved indoors to watch a film on the making of a commercial that had brought Marty and Lorraine together, and then Marty and I sat alone watching some old World Cup matches on TV, and rang John Wright, whom he hadn't spoken to for while. It was past 11, long after his bedtime, when he saw me off.

Through my protests that I had a piece to write, Marty kept pouring the wine. When I got up the next morning, he had already read what I had written. The message from him read: "Told you, you should drink more often before you write"

See you soon, I said, without conviction. He was signed on to be with us in our studio in Sydney for the 2015 World Cup. But that was ruled out now. In the back seat of the cab, I put on my head a little piece of personal history he had gifted me: the special cap presented to him at Lord's on his 50th Test match.

Marty didn't give up writing. In fact, he produced some of his finest in his last months. After famously burning his New Zealand blazer because of the shabby handling of Ross Taylor, with whom he had established a connection of the soul, he warmed up to the national team, and even to the leadership of Brendon McCullum, who had benefited from Taylor's sacking. Without forsaking objectivity in his writing, he found his spirit lifted by New Zealand's prospects in the home World Cup.

They began breathtakingly well in the tournament, much like in 1992, when Marty's team had fired everyone's imagination by charging out of the blocks while batting and opening the bowling with a spinner. This time too, it was soon apparent that a semi-final spot was there for the taking.

Two weeks into the tournament, Marty emailed me. "I am coming to Sydney for the final leg. I will finish the last part of our deal." Our guest rota had been done, but we weren't going say no to Martin Crowe. We added a chair.

Brother Jeff Crowe greets mourners at the funeral

Brother Jeff Crowe greets mourners at the funeral © Getty Images

It so happened that our outdoor studio, on Mrs Macquarie's Chair, overlooking the opera house, was walking distance from the Sydney home of Marty's cousin, who goes by the name of Russell Crowe. This meant Marty could watch the cricket in the comfort of a home before joining us at the studio. Lorraine flew in with him.

I committed an act of serious lack of professionalism during his stay. I left the quarter-final between Sri Lanka and South Africa midway through the chase - in mitigation, Sri Lanka were out of it when I left - to be able to attend a dinner Marty and Lorraine were hosting for a small group of friends. Gideon Haigh and Ed Cowan, both of whom, like me, had made their first contact with him on email and built their friendship through intense correspondence, were already there, and Mark Nicholas joined us later. It was hard to leave, and through my protests that I had a piece to write, Marty kept pouring the wine. When I got up the next morning, Marty had already read what I had written. The message from him read: "Told you, you should drink more often before you write."

His presence in Sydney meant that Marty wasn't in Auckland when New Zealand won that gut-wrencher of a semi-final, against South Africa before a crowd that brought the passion of a whole nation to a small ground. And as the tension rose in the final stages of the match, the crew and his fellow analysts in the studio joined in the prayers: for Marty's sake, the thought of New Zealand losing was unbearable, though in the stadium, it was impossible not to feel for the South Africans.

He would have not grudged being denied, and he assured me so, but it just felt right that he should be at the MCG for New Zealand's first ever World Cup final, even if that meant we lost his services at the studio. The ICC promptly obliged by organising all-access accreditation for him. I felt like I was in a fairy-tale when I picked him up from his hotel on the morning of the final. I was going to skip writing that day in order to watch him watch his team.

Words were not needed. Marty was standing tall in his sturdy frame, smiling and waving, when my cab turned around. It was the perfect image to store away - both his body and spirit undiminished and unconquered by the viciousness fate had dealt him

I waited at the boundary rope as Taylor came over to him near the practice area. There was a chat with Martin Guptill, his other "son"; an interview or two with broadcasters; lunch at the ESPN table in the hospitality area; and before we could settle down to watch properly, McCullum was gone.

We wandered off into the stands to watch a few overs with the Guptill family and New Zealand sank further. Tendulkar, who was in attendance, sent word that he wanted to catch up, dismissed suggestions that Crowe be escorted up to his box, dashed down the stairs and snuck into the ICC hospitality enclosure. What would the two talk but cricket? New Zealand were in tatters now. "McCullum needed to settle his nerves," Tendulkar said. "It was a good ball from [Mitchell] Starc, but McCullum could have defended it had he not been mentally tuned to attacking." Marty nodded.

I was watching him closely throughout. There were no signs of distress. Instead there was a serene glow about him. He was at peace, he said. Just as McCullum, by scoring New Zealand's first triple hundred, had eased Marty's pain of getting himself out on 299, this team, just by reaching the final, had banished ghosts of 1992, when Marty's New Zealand were unable to defend a reasonable target in the semi-final as he nursed an injury in the dressing room.

After the match was over, the team invited him to the dressing room, where there was both laughter and tears. On the way out, Marty stopped, unbidden, to do an interview with ESPNcricinfo's Andy Zaltzman and Jarrod Kimber. I dropped him off at the hotel. We hugged. Words were not needed. Marty was standing tall in his sturdy frame, smiling and waving, when my cab turned around. It was the perfect image to store away - both his body and spirit undiminished and unconquered by the viciousness fate had dealt him. I gave him a salute and watched him disappear through the hotel door.

He wrote me a beautiful email after he got home. It ended with, "Love you like a brother." Me too, Marty, me too.

Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo. @sambitbal

 

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  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | March 15, 2017, 17:33 GMT

    Extremely well written article. This is how master pieces are - exceptional and Genius but misunderstood. He was one of the great batsmen of his era and definitely the best batsman that NZ ever produced. Shame that he was taken away at such a young age. He was a man who spoke from the heart. Called a spade a spade.... Wonderful man and a great loss to the cricketing fraternity all over. May his soul RIP.

  • POSTED BY cricconnossieur on | March 14, 2017, 5:57 GMT

    Subtle with emotions, elegant in prose and steady in poise - a fitting tribute to MD Crowe , thanks Sambit !

  • POSTED BY bundybear55 on | March 11, 2017, 7:45 GMT

    Great tribute to a great man. I just loved watching him bat. The only thing that matched his elegance at the crease was his writing in his final years. Thanks Sambit and RIP Marty..!

  • POSTED BY chrismans on | March 8, 2017, 21:56 GMT

    What a stunningly beautiful piece of writing. A Fantastic tribute!

  • POSTED BY Manbat on | March 8, 2017, 8:39 GMT

    What an absolute superb piece of writing. I thought I was reading an article by Martin Crowe. This article held my attention from start to finish. What a great way to remember a legend of the game.

  • POSTED BY Jigar_Shah on | March 7, 2017, 7:51 GMT

    Sambit you have definitely amassed an array of writers who are legends themselves. This article was a master piece. Guess what I was at the WC finals that day and I got a picture with Martin Crowe - he obliged for a selfie with me, I cherish that picture the most. Thank you for reminding us of the great player who was even a greater man especially in his last few years.

  • POSTED BY Wagga on | March 6, 2017, 8:32 GMT

    Sambit, thank you so much for this article, which I have just managed to read now. You made my cry with your recollections. Crowe will always have an air of being misunderstood about him, but his passion for the game and his incredible mind and amazing writing can never be questioned.

  • POSTED BY SIVA_SUBRAMANIAN on | March 5, 2017, 20:37 GMT

    Certain articles make me think that i should also become a cricket journalist .This is one such. This has created emotional ripples. Super one sir.

  • POSTED BY RockcityGuy on | March 3, 2017, 17:33 GMT

    I knew Martin Crowe the writer more than Crowe the batsman and what a writer he was! He is missed! his article is wonderfully written and mentions the who's who of cricket journalism from Haigh to Nicholas to Sambit himself with a mention of the soon to be legendary Jarrod Kimber. It only goes to show how much Mr. Crowe loved the field of cricket broadcasting. God bless your family sir!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 3, 2017, 6:21 GMT

    A superb and fitting tribute to Martin Crowe. It was right for Sambit to wait until the first anniversary of Martin's death before writing this appreciation. The intervening year has allowed their friendship to be seen more clearly and to be appreciated in full. I remember reading Martin Crowe's own articles when he knew his time was very limited. They were characterised by tolerance and great insights expressed simply and with dignity on the game that he revered. Sincerity in writing cannot be faked. Sambit's life has been immeasurably enriched by his friendship with the great New Zealand batsman - and their priceless connection has been shared with cricket lovers here through this wonderful catalogue of memories in an article that has sincerity in every syllable. Thank you for it, Sambit.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | March 2, 2017, 22:47 GMT

    A wonderful piece on Martin Crowe, easily one of the most outstanding batsmen of his generation. Anywhere else except on bowling surfaces in NZ, his average would have been 10 higher. All class, both as a cricketer & human being. He is missed.

  • POSTED BY GeorgeEmerson on | March 2, 2017, 21:28 GMT

    Thanks Sabit, in amongst all the jingoism and commercialism of the modern game it's lovely to know that there is still some humanity.

  • POSTED BY 3lb 1oz SS JUMBO on | March 2, 2017, 20:55 GMT

    Put aside whichever cricketing nation we all hail from and most definitely all it's associated rivalries on this one

    When it comes down to a Champion like Martin Crowe and the loss the game has taken with his untimely passing - we & the game itself are far poorer for it

    RIP Martin - taken way too early mate you will continue to be missed

    This from an Australian - some deep respect , there you go.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | March 2, 2017, 20:37 GMT

    A beautiful story. It was quite moving to read of a man we had known just as the greatest NZ batsman in these personal terms. RIP Martin Crowe.

  • POSTED BY Deepanjan Datta on | March 2, 2017, 18:16 GMT

    Deeply personal, and richly inlaid with anecdotes which define the most human of cricketers. As a great batsman of his generation, he had the respect of the finest bowlers. Those great Pakistani exponents of peerless reverse-swing swore they never saw a batsman with footwork better equipped for their toe-crushers. As a man, he was tormented and misunderstood far too often and yet, as this piece affirms, was in love with the game to soak in anything which made it better. This doesn't feel like a tribute, or an obit. This feels like one really good friend, a brother, remembering the best times with another. No judgment, no objectivity lost either. RIP Martin.

  • POSTED BY ravi.narla on | March 2, 2017, 17:11 GMT

    One of the the best commemorative piece I have read. The catch of Houghton in 1987 world cup is till livid in my memories and the runs he scored at will in the 1992 world cup topping the batting charts. This article did evoke emotions. Great one Sambit.

  • POSTED BY kamikazekid on | March 2, 2017, 16:55 GMT

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Sambit. What a wonderful writeup. Its writing such as this that makes me a loyal cricinfo visitor. Martin Crowe was no slouch himself with the pen in hand as you rightly mention. I especially recall reading his letter to McCullum before the 2015 final. Thanks again and please keep quality journalism like this front and center at Cricinfo.

  • POSTED BY espn41873510 on | March 2, 2017, 16:02 GMT

    Dear Sambit, you made me cry....again.I lived through all those days again....the 1992 world cup and the 2015 world cup...I still remember the forlorn Martin of 1992 semis...during 2015 though it was known his days were numbered, his energetic and expressive appearances during the world cup made us forget his situation...you have brought out the reality in such emotional way!...we really miss him...thanks for the memories...

  • POSTED BY Ram Soundar on | March 2, 2017, 15:45 GMT

    Sambit - Thanks a lot for writing this. I remember as a 10 year old, I watched Martin Crowe in 1992 world cup emerge as the tournament's leading run scorer. I had almost forgotten him until I started reading his magnificent columns towards the end of his beautiful life, but little did I know there was so much more to him. Thanks for bringing this to the knowledge of the readers.

  • POSTED BY Arthur on | March 2, 2017, 15:20 GMT

    I recall Martin Crowe's association with Ross Taylor when he (Taylor) was having a bad time of it, as it regards his form. What a fine piece this was http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/702923.html

  • POSTED BY yusuf77 on | March 2, 2017, 14:35 GMT

    Thanks for sharing your memories with Martin it is indeed a very heart touching writing piece. I missed Martin May God rest him in piece.

  • POSTED BY Arthur on | March 2, 2017, 14:12 GMT

    Beautiful, incisive article on Martin Crowe. In South Africa in the late 70s and 80s, when Crowe played for New Zealand, we in South Africa were prevented from seeing these superstars in action - due to our isolationist policies. This was the great, halcyon years for international cricket. These were the times of the great players, the likes of Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge's, Richard Hadlees, Jeff Thomsons, Dennis Lillees - and of course Martin Crowes - among them. Though television, was off-limits in then-apartheid SA, my youthful friends (in our teens) and I happily gleaned the latest cricketing news from hurriedly assembled newspapers, that carried the reports of the international matches. Martin Crowe was of course one of them. He of the headband, and ONE special player. So when the isolationist ban was lifted what a pleasure seeing Martin bat finally on TV - even though it was at the end of his career. It is certainly now so surreal. The great years of cricket!

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | March 2, 2017, 13:17 GMT

    Marvellous cricketer. Reading through the article I could not stop thinking this was a man who would have benefitted reading some Buddhist texts.