Martin Crowe 1962-2016 March 11, 2016

Martin Crowe farewelled in Auckland


Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, was farewelled by around 1000 mourners at a funeral service in Auckland that celebrated one of cricket's greatest talents and fiercest intellects.

The funeral held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell was broadcast live around New Zealand, and also streamed online. It featured tributes from Crowe's wife Lorraine Downes, his brother Jeff Crowe, his former international team-mate, Ian Smith, and his school friend David Lyle Morris.

In an emotional address, Jeff Crowe remembered the outpouring grief and appreciation for his brother last week in Bangladesh, where he had been serving as an ICC match referee: "It never really dawned on me how deep it all went, what a huge splash he made, what an inspiration he was for so many."

He noted with some awe and puzzlement Crowe's abilities as a writer. "How did he know how to write a truly clever sentence or paragraph," he asked. "Then I was reminded by our friend Richard Reid, 'unlike you Jeff, he actually attended class, and read a book or two'."

Smith recalled being asked in June last year by Crowe to write a eulogy, before witnessing him fight on against cancer to live for another nine months. He spoke of how Crowe first emerged as New Zealand's leading batsman by battling against ill health, heat and an adverse match situation to save a draw against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1984, and then went on to dominant innings against the West Indies and Australia, dual innings of 188 apiece in 1985.

"You know Stockley, that was great indeed," Crowe had told Smith, his roommate in Brisbane, after Richard Hadlee's 9 for 52 "but if we don't capitalise on that, it won't be the same." At the 1992 World Cup, Smith said Crowe's innovations sent cricket's best brains "into a collective tailspin". Smith also read a heartfelt message from Allan Border, and summed up by saying that one word epitomised Crowe: "Passion."

Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, two cricketers Crowe had mentored, delivered video tributes ahead of New Zealand's looming World Twenty20 campaign in India. Guptill's words included: "He always saw something in my game, even when I couldn't." Taylor spoke of how Crowe's email had inspired him to make 290 against Australia in Perth last year after a bad match in Brisbane had him questioning his future: "Hogan's words made me truly believe and have faith again."

His wife Lorraine spoke about Crowe's final days, about her feelings of grief at his loss, and also about his faith. "Many knew him as a cricketing legend, I knew him only as my soulmate," she said. "He could be passionate, romantic, and fun. And he could be as cheeky as hell. He was everything I ever dreamed for in a partner.

"I recently asked him 'what is the most important lesson you've learned'. He said 'I have learned many lessons, but the most important of these is to only hold onto the truth, removing all that is untrue and false'. I asked Marty how he wanted to be remembered. He said 'for being authentic, loving and full of prayer'."

A host of notable cricketing names attended, including a sizeable New Zealand Cricket delegation: the chief executive, David White; the president, Stephen Boock; the board directors Sir Richard Hadlee, Martin Snedden and Geoff Allott, and the selector, Gavin Larsen.

Greg Chappell was present as a representative of Cricket Australia, and also as a former foe: he had captained Australia against New Zealand in Crowe's very first Test match, and his upright technique had been a source of considerable inspiration for Crowe's own methods.

There were many small touches, redolent of Crowe's eye for detail. The service order was orange, a favourite colour, while his casket was adorned with the image of a butterfly. The funeral began with footage of Crowe's innings of 142 against England at Lord's in 1994, his most cherished performance, accompanied by the Pink Floyd instrumental The Great Gig In The Sky.

Following the service, current Auckland Grammar students formed a guard of honour, and also delivered a ceremonial Haka. Crowe's pallbearers included the actor Russell Crowe, and longtime friends Hilton Mexted, David Lyle Morris, Grant Fox, Steve Wilkes and his brother Jeff.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nandan on March 13, 2016, 5:25 GMT

    You will be missed a lot Martin Crowe. The cricketing world will always be indebted to your contribution to this great game. RIP

  • Sudarshan on March 12, 2016, 9:29 GMT

    On your last walk to the pavilion, bat up Martin. You have played a great innings.

  • D N on March 12, 2016, 0:55 GMT

    Thanks for memories, extraordinary innovation and the never say die spirit. you will live for ever in many cricketers' and cricket lovers' hearts.

  • Jon on March 12, 2016, 0:34 GMT

    I'm just gonna say it... it was disappointing IMO that Brendon McCullum and Fleming (and others) were unable to attend Crowe's funeral because they were playing in a celebrity golf tournament.

  • BRUCE on March 11, 2016, 17:05 GMT

    A wonderful moving funeral service for Martin.A true cricketing great on the field & a cricket visionary off it. I am reminded of the words of George Bernand Shaw (1856-1950) "You see things & you say "Why".But I dream things that never were & say "why not" Those words also used by the 3 Kennedy brothers in the 1960's, could sum up Martins post playing days & his ideas for the development of cricket. RIP Martin

  • Vaughan on March 11, 2016, 14:29 GMT

    As a South African, I would just like to pay tribute to one of the great sons of the game that we love so much.

  • ubaid4u on March 11, 2016, 12:10 GMT

    As a Pakistani I can't forget 1992 for three reasons.. We winning the Cup, Akram's two unplayable deliveries to Lamb n Lewis and of course, Hogan's batting....

  • Tom on March 11, 2016, 11:40 GMT

    He was truly the finest batsman and the best one to play fast bowling. When Martin Crowe was drafted in for Sir Richard and Botham left the Sumerset county in protest I kind of doubted his ability as compared to Richards as Viv was everyone's hero at that time. However when he came on a tour to Pakistan and faced Wasim and Waqar with ball cutting and swinging all around at a very high speed I realized how good he was. I have never see a player even great Lara and Sachin playing fast swinging bowling so confidently and with correct technique. He was truly a very high class batsman better than even some of the modern greats. He didn't play as many Test matches ( 77 only) as NZ used to play few Test matches those days but if he played more test matches during his peak days he could have broken most batting records. I am a Pakistani but he was my childhood hero and I am very sad on this great lost to cricket. May god rest his soul in peace.