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For Martin Crowe

by Naked Cricket

Some mornings are tougher. Today is one such morning. Today Martin Crowe died. Today a huge chunk of the possibilities, the beating heart, the vision, all those lofty words that are thrown around only to be centred and find meaning with Martin Crowe, died. Today, a deep love for cricket died.

Or did it? Not really. Martin Crowe’s writings are with us. His spoken word is with us. His intuition can hold cricket’s hand and guide it. His knack of calling it, spelling it out, doing it, fearlessly, can still teach cricket to tread without fear.

For it, we must extend our hand towards what Martin Crowe has left behind.

*****

That Martin Crowe smile. That teethy grin, you see it? I see it. That impersonation of Viv Richards, you see that? Martin Crowe burning his New Zealand cricket blazer? He tweeted: "Burnt NZ cricket blazer Dec 7, 2012. RIP" Why? He believed in something, in somebody, in Ross Taylor. He lashed out at Ross Taylor’s sacking. He wrote "destroyed the soul of Ross Taylor. They have amputated his spirit and there is no prosthetic for that". New Zealand Cricket went on to publicly apologise to Taylor over the way his demotion was handled.

When was the last time one of the Indian greats spoke up against injustice?  Is a cricketer’s job just scoring runs and taking wickets? What was Martin Crowe’s job? To believe in something? Is that a job or a calling?

*****

Martin Crowe wasn’t always a retired cricketer. Once upon a time, he was New Zealand’s best batsman and captain, what, he was the world’s best. He was the Deepak Patel experiment. He was the Mark Greatbatch innovator. He was the power play in the World Cup. He was Russell Crowe’s cousin. He was much, much more than all of this. He was New Zealand Cricket. He was the Black Cap. He was the silver fern. He was the blazer he burnt. He was the cricketer he saved. He was the father to a son he never had. He was the hurt. He was the belief.

*****

March 29, 2015, Australia vs. New Zealand, Melbourne, World Cup Finals, spoken of as Martin Crowe’s last appearance at a cricket match. Hugs that seemed like goodbyes. Word was he had stopped his treatment and had just a few weeks left, a month or two at best. Yet Martin Crowe’s articles continued to appear. Till their frequency became much less. Thankfully, the Best of Crowe is a click away. 

Thank you, Martin David Crowe. Thanks to you, the written word in cricket was never more alive.

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