Cricket Australia pays tribute to Martin Crowe

Melbourne, March 3 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) paid tribute to former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, who died on Thursday aged 53.

Widely regarded as his country’s best batsman, Crowe debuted as a 19-year-old, playing 77 Tests between 1982 and 1995. He scored 5,444 runs at an average of 45.37 with 17 centuries, more than any other New Zealander.

Crowe dominated New Zealand’s series victory in Australia during 1985-86, averaging 77, and later captained the Black Caps in 16 Tests and 44 One-Day Internationals (ODI). He played 143 ODIs, scoring 4,704 runs at an average of 38.55 with four centuries and 34 half-centuries.

Crowe played in three World Cups and led New Zealand to the semi-final of the 1992 tournament, where his side lost to eventual champions Pakistan in Auckland.

New Zealand’s run to the final of the World Cup last March featured prominently in Crowe’s last months. He was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame at the innings break in New Zealand’s pool match against Australia in late February last year, prompting a standing ovation from 40,000 fans at Eden Park.

When the Black Caps continued their run to the final against Australia, Crowe travelled to Melbourne, describing the match as without question the personal cricketing highlight of his life.

CA Chief Executive James Sutherland paid tribute to Crowe for his contribution to the game.

“Martin Crowe was amongst the finest players of his generation, a delightful stroke-maker who made an enormous impact in New Zealand and around the cricket world. He was an important player in the New Zealand teams of the mid ’80s which went unbeaten in 10 of 13 series from the time of his debut,” Sutherland said.

“Martin inspired his country by taking New Zealand to the 1992 World Cup semis and was a revolutionary thinker on the game whose contribution to cricket continued long after he retired. He will be sadly missed around the world, including by many Australian cricketers who held deep affection for him and admired his wonderful talents. The thoughts of the Australian cricket family are with his family and many friends at this sad time.”

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