A fantasy come true
Back in 1992, when a World XI delegation played a Wills Indian XI in October for a series of three benefit matches captained by Richie Richardson, I felt a little let down. There was no Martin Crowe in the squad, who was quite the rage after his captaincy in the World Cup earlier in the year. I thought that was the closest I would get to see the man in flesh, since a game was being played at Chepauk in Chennai.
As luck would transpire, 22 years later, I found myself working with Crowe, every afternoon and late night for two consecutive weeks during the 2014 World T20 in the ESPNcricinfo office. It was a dream come true to converse with Martin on Dipak Patel, the failure of Cricket Max, and his last ODI century in Jamshedpur.
My favourite memories of those times spent working with him in the studio were the following:
- Martin was doing the 'Match Point' show with a pair of shorts on. Since there was a discussion involving how a shot was played, Martin got up on the live show, and was seen demonstrating a shot in his formal shirt and err... not so formal shorts. It was a moment that brought a smile to the studio that night.
- Since I was managing Fantasy Cricket at ESPNcricinfo, I had the privilege of working with Crowe and Daryll Cullinan to help them pick their teams for the day. Towards the end of the Super 10 phase, when all of us were running out of transfers, we were making only one or two changes each game. Martin came over and said, "I am going for broke," and made five changes in that game, finishing his transfers, with two games still remaining. He added, "All that matters is the number of points, and I want to give myself the best chance of scoring the most points, and there's no point of playing incrementally and safe. I either win the league table with this punt, or don't. I don't see a point in losing safely." Martin's hunch, while it didn't win him fantasy points, won him a fan for the virtual aggression. The 1992 World Cup was replaying all over again, 22 years later at a table near me!
- Karthik Kannan, a former employee of ESPNCricinfo
My earliest memories of cricket are of watching Martin Crowe wearing a neck cooler while batting and taking that catch to dismiss Dave Houghton in the 1987 World Cup. He was my first cricketing hero and I followed his exploits very closely. When I think of him I remember how the camera had focused on him as he sat in the dressing room in the 1992 semi-final against Pakistan while the match was slipping away from New Zealand. The anguish on his face was felt by all cricket followers around the world. He had, with his batting and captaincy, almost single-handedly - he even played an amazing innings in the semi-final - taken his team to the cusp of a World Cup final. It was heartbreaking to see him sit on the sidelines and be unable to captain his team into the final. In his later interviews, he confessed how John Wright had ignored his plan to contain Pakistan. It was a very depressing sight indeed. To cheer up, I always think of him recreating the dance moves of Tanha Tanha (a very popular Bollywood song in India that time) after taking a great catch of Vinod Kambli off Chris Cairns in this match.
- Tushar Mathur
The 1992 Cricket World Cup was his in every way, as a batsman and captain. But due to luck their dream run was halted in the semi-final by the eventual champions. The way Martin Crowe led New Zealand and the tactics used like Mark Greatbatch to open the batting and Dipak Patel to open the bowling were simply brilliant. The way he batted and scored runs against all teams was simply brilliant. The 1992 CWC according to me was the favorite memory. He was literally synonymous with that tournament.
- Pranay Nigotiya
For all his wonderful batting and revolutionary leadership in the 1992 World Cup, the one lasting memory is that catch in the 1987 World Cup to tragically end Dave Houghton's fighting but ultimately futile knock and his partnership with Ian Butchart.
- Ananth Nagarajan
This was the early 90s when I was kid and Pakistan bowling was blessed with pace, swing and zeal. Pacers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed and Imran Khan were in full flow. I have never see Wasim Akram being punished as regularly and fluently by a batsman as Martin did. I still remember the 1992 World Cup semi-final where he single-handedly attacked the Pakistani bowling. If he was not injured, New Zealand might have been world champs then. RIP Martin Crowe. My condolence to his family and friends.
- Haroon Razzaq
I did not grow up watching Martin Crowe but I might have had a glimpse or two when I was very young. However being a stats and record lover, for me Martin Crowe will be the person who always held the rare distinction of being out on 299. - Zeeshan Mahmud
Have a favourite memory of Martin Crowe? Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org