Martin Crowe dies in Auckland after battle with cancer video

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Martin Crowe was at the peak of his powers during the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson says late cricket great Martin Crowe always had a positive message for the team.

Crowe died in Auckland on Thursday surrounded by family, aged 53.

His death has come after a long battle with cancer. He was diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal Lymphoma.

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Crowe is survived by wife Lorraine Downes, daughter Emma and step-children Hilton and Jasmine.

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"It is with heavy hearts that the family of Martin Crowe, MBE advise his death," his family said in a statement. "The family request privacy at this time."

Martin Crowe has been remembered as one of New Zealand's greatest sportsmen and one of history's "sharpest cricketing minds".
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Martin Crowe has been remembered as one of New Zealand's greatest sportsmen and one of history's "sharpest cricketing minds".

Crowe's funeral will be held on Friday, March 11 at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The right-handed batsman played 77 tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand.

He scored 5444 test runs at an average of 45.36, including 17 centuries and 18 half centuries. His top score was 299.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff.co.nz

John Key comments on cricket great Martin Crowe's death.

Crowe's ODI runs totalled 4704 at an average of 38.55 with four centuries and 34 half centuries and a best score of 107 not out.

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Speaking at Auckland Airport on Thursday afternoon before the Black Caps flew to Dubai to prepare for the World Twenty20 in India, Williamson said Crowe's death was a shock and the team's thoughts were with Crowe's family.

"I did have little bits to do with Martin and he was always really positive and had some really nice messages to share and I certainly appreciated that from a legend of the game. 

New Zealand cricket great Martin Crowe at the Basin Reserve in Wellington ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
Mark Tantrum/ Getty Images

New Zealand cricket great Martin Crowe at the Basin Reserve in Wellington ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

"It's a sad time to see a guy like Martin, who was so close to the country, to lose him at such a young age."

Williamson said Crowe texted him as recently as last Saturday to congratulate the 25-year-old captain.

"The time that he has been sick we've had some brief contact and he's always been very positive and encouraging."

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Martin Crowe's five greatest innings.

Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, who were coached and mentored by the New Zealand batting great in recent years, paid their respects via social media before the flight.

"Until we meet again Hogan. Love Tuisi," tweeted Taylor, while Guptill said on Instagram: "Today we lost a legend of our game. Not only was he a great sportsman but more importantly a great human. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor and friend to help me through the last couple of years. You inspired me to become a better person on and off the field. I will miss you."

Coach Mike Hesson said it was a sad time and the team felt for Crowe's family and friends.

New Zealand batsman Martin Crowe cuts the ball in an Eden Park ODI in 1984.
Getty Images

New Zealand batsman Martin Crowe cuts the ball in an Eden Park ODI in 1984.

"The cricketing community not only in New Zealand but throughout the world have not only lost a great player but a great advocate for the game, so really sad times.'

'BORN TO PLAY CRICKET'

Former Black Caps team-mate Ian Smith forged a strong relationship with Crowe, first through their playing days and then later in the commentary box.

John Key has hailed Crowe as one of New Zealand's greatest sportsmen.
PHOTOSPORT

John Key has hailed Crowe as one of New Zealand's greatest sportsmen.

He doubts New Zealand will ever produce a batsmen as good as Crowe.

"He was born to play cricket and be a world-class batsman, nothing was ever going to stop him," Smith told Radio Sport. "His record will be overshadowed at some stage but you'll never be able to take away watching Martin Crowe bat and you'll never be able to see that simulated again, in my eyes anyway."

When it came to calling the game, Smith said Crowe was ahead of his time.

Australian captain Alan Border and New Zealand Captain Martin Crowe lead their teams onto the field for the first ...
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Australian captain Alan Border and New Zealand Captain Martin Crowe lead their teams onto the field for the first match. 1992 Cricket World Cup, New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, February 22 1992. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/PHOTOSPORT

"His thinking on the game was sometimes a year ahead in terms of strategy and on where the game was heading. But because he was Martin Crowe and a Kiwi, I don't think the ICC were prepared to give him too much of a head start there."

ABILITY TO LIFT THE WHOLE TEAM

Another of his old New Zealand team-mates, Dion Nash, said Crowe was intense but he used that passion to lift the whole team to a world-class standard.

Martin Crowe in action during a World Cup match between New Zealand and Pakistan in 1992.

Martin Crowe in action during a World Cup match between New Zealand and Pakistan in 1992.

Crowe set a standard of professionalism for a whole generation to aspire to, Nash said.

"He was one of the guys when I was growing up that everybody looked to. There was really just Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe who were the two heroes of the day, you wanted to bowl like Richard Hadlee and bat like Martin Crowe."

Nash, who played with Crowe during the back-end of his career in the mid-1990s, said he was an "emotionally intense guy" who at times rubbed people up the wrong way.

NZ batsman Martin Crowe at Eden Park.
Getty Images

NZ batsman Martin Crowe at Eden Park.

But that did not stop him from having a significant influence on each of his team-mates.

"Not everyone had a great personal relationship [with Crowe] but I think the whole group certainly followed and learnt a lot of what was required, the intensity to become world class. 

"He was our world-class player and he had an ability to lift the whole team up to that standard. 

NZ cricket great Martin Crowe talks about his battle with cancer, early in 2015.
Hannah Peters/ Getty Images

NZ cricket great Martin Crowe talks about his battle with cancer, early in 2015.

"We learnt from him what it took if he we really wanted to perform on the international scene."

LAST CONVERSATION

Australian cricket great Allan Border said he was thankful he was able to have one final chat with Crowe before he passed away.

Crowe's death has come after a long battle with cancer. He was diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal Lymphoma.
DAVID WHITE / FAIRFAX NZ

Crowe's death has come after a long battle with cancer. He was diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal Lymphoma.

The former Australian captain said he spoke to Crowe last week while in the country and although at the time he realised how weak the New Zealand cricket legend was, he'll always be thankful of having that last conversation.

"He fought the fight, as you'd expect him to do," said an emotional Border.

'TRUE LEGEND OF NEW ZEALAND SPORT'

Crowe was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame during the ICC Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia at ...
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Crowe was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame during the ICC Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland in February 2015.

John Key has shared his condolences with Martin Crowe's family, calling him one of New Zealand's greatest sportsmen.

"Martin was a truly great sportsman - one of our finest-ever batsmen and sharpest cricketing minds," Key said.

"He was a world-class athlete whose exploits on the pitch endeared him to cricket fans around the world, whose leadership helped propel our Black Caps to the 1992 Cricket World Cup semi-final and whose tutelage has helped the next generation to excel."

Crowe's achievements saw him recognised in a number of ways, including being named NZ Sportsman of the Year, receiving an MBE, and being inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, Key said, adding that no one would forget his magnificent 299 against Sri Lanka in 1991, or his contribution to cricket after his retirement in 1996.

POLITICIANS REMEMBER 'INSPIRATIONAL LEADER' AND CRICKETING LEGEND

Other politicians have also paid tribute to the legend of the sport.

NZ Cricket

Black Caps coach MIke Hesson pays his tribute to Martin Crowe

Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman said Crowe was a great New Zealand cricketer who will be missed throughout the country.

"Of course anyone around at the time would not forget his contribution to the 1992 World Cup and his very innovative captaincy."

Coleman's first year at Auckland Grammar was the same as Crowe's final year at the school.

"I admired his batting from afar, he was a beautiful classic stroke maker and arguably our greatest ever batsman."

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said of Crowe, "At his best his cricket was beautiful - just amazing".

"We grew up with Martin Crowe as the world's best batsman. He was a complex character but he performed - he's the ultimate performer, so deep respect for him and a sad loss."

And Labour MP David Shearer remembered coming up against Crowe at a game as a little kid.

"He dealt with his illness with such enormous dignity as well. He's going to leave a real legacy."

Other political leaders also shared their condolences following Thursday's news of Crowe's passing.

TRIBUTES FLOW

Tributes for Crowe were led by New Zealand players.

Among them was former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming and current team member Grant Elliott.

Former NZ team-mate Chris Cairns hailed Crowe as a "cricketer's cricketer".

"I will miss him dearly as over the last couple of years there were messages of encouragement between us both as we battled our own demons. His situation however, always put mine in perspective and I marvelled at his resolve. Today is a sad day. Farewell Hogan," Cairns said.

Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, has also posted a touching tribute to his cousin.

"My champion, my hero, my friend. I will love you forever," he said.

And Crowe's high School, Auckland Grammar, said it would be flying its flag at half-mast to acknowledge its old boy's passing.

SHINING CAREER

Aside from playing in the Black Caps, Crowe played first class cricket for Auckland, Central Districts, Wellington and for English county Somerset.

He was gifted with rare ability and his elegance and determination made him one of New Zealand's finest-ever batsman.

Crowe was an efortless accumulator of runs, and his passion and cricketing brain made him a natural leader.

He was an undoubted star of the 1992 World Cup with his blazing bat and innovative captaincy helping New Zealand to an unexpected run of victories that united the nation.

But the run ended in a semifinal defeat to Pakistan that remained Crowe's most painful memory.

Crowe recalled the desolation after his hamstring injury stopped him taking the field for the Pakistan innings: "I sat on the edge of my chair, leg braced and bound, and I wept. The dressing room scene was indescribable.

"Then we had to tour the ground and acknowledge the support of a nation whose hearts we had won. It was a choking, breathtaking experience. It was unforgettable and it was devastating. It was cricket in the broadest canvas." 

His innovative thinking found a worthy platform in various forms of media after his career was cruelly ended by a persistent knee injury.

'CRICKETING GENIUS'

Former Black Cap Andrew Jones, who famously put together a world-record test partnership of 467 with Crowe at the Basin Reserve in 1991, said his heart went out to Crowe's family.

"I was devastated to hear the news because it was a really special part of my life, playing with Martin. He was a tremendous talent."

Jones said Crowe would be remembered for his heroics in the 1992 World Cup and as one of the superstar batsmen of his generation.

"He was very well respected and technically gifted, as well as being an incredibly tough player.

"Martin never shirked away from a fight when the [batting] conditions weren't easy."

"He was a cricketing genius - he was Martin."

 - Stuff

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