New Zealand cricket legend Martin Crowe dies 'peacefully, surrounded by family'

Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe has died aged 53.

Diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal double hit Lymphoma, he passed away this morning in Auckland.

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

He died "peacefully today surrounded by family".

Despite being terminally ill, Martin Crowe fulfilled his World Cup final dream when New Zealand played Australia last year. Source: 1 NEWS

The statement was headed 'God Speed. Rest in Peace'.

A polarising figure at times but one who only ever had cricket's best interests at heart, he gained a new legion of admirers as he faced his illness with courage and grace.

Much to his delight, he lived long enough to see New Zealand reach last year's World Cup final - one match further than his legendary team managed in 1992.

His tears were testament to his love for the game.

Watch footage from some of New Zealand batting great Martin Crowe's best knocks. Source: 1 NEWS

Crowe, who proudly represented the Cornwall Cricket Club, made his Test debut against Australia in 1982, hitting the first of 17 centuries the following year against England.

In all he averaged 45 from 77 Tests, facing down some of cricket's most fearsome bowling attacks as he, alongside Sir Richard Hadlee, helped New Zealand hit unparalleled heights.

He fell one run short of being New Zealand's first triple-century maker against Sri Lanka in 1991, and said a century at Lord's in 1994, after six months out with one of the many knee injuries that blighted his career, was one of his greatest achievements.

"He made a reputation for himself as courageous, determined, skillful, all the things you want to be as a batsman," former England captain David Gower said.

A traditionalist with the bat in hand, his unorthodox captaincy started a revolution in the limited overs game when he elevated the hard-hitting Mark Greatbatch to the top of the order in the 1992 World Cup - a trend that is followed to this day.

LEADING THINKER

A memorable century in the opening victory against Australia helped unify the public behind the team in a manner not seen again until arguably February and March 2015, as New Zealand's squad of journeymen fell one match short of final appearance.

He was regarded as one of the game's leading thinkers, able to analyse an individual player or match situation with a level of insight almost unmatched in the modern game, and developed Cricket Max, a forerunner to the Twenty20 phenomenon.

Crowe's thoughts and tendency to air them in public, however, didn't always sit well with others.

He was shunned by the Black Caps for a period when their results were heading downwards, and says he burned his New Zealand blazer after the messy dumping of Ross Taylor as captain in favour of Brendon McCullum.

The Auckland Grammar old boy freely admitted to letting his emotions get the better of him at times.

He has since made his peace, saying before the World Cup final that he "will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent."

"Whatever happens, March 29 at the MCG will be the most divine fun ever."

Crowe was the third New Zealander inducted into cricket's Hall of Fame, although a push to see him knighted was, at this time, unsuccessful.

He is survived by his wife Lorraine Downes.
 


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