New Zealand cricket icon Martin Crowe passes away 

Auckland, March 3 (IANS) Legendary New Zealand cricketer Martin Crowe passed away here on Thursday after fighting a long battle with cancer, leaving the sport’s fraternity, which remembered him as a great person on and off the field, to mourning.

The 53-year-old, who captained the Black Caps in 16 Tests and 44 One-Day Internationals (ODI), was diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal Lymphoma. He is survived by wife Lorraine Downes, daughter Emma and step-children Hilton and Jasmine. His funeral will be held on March 11 at Holy Trinity Cathedral here, reported.

The right-handed batsman played 77 Tests and 143 One-Day Internationals (ODI) for New Zealand between 1982-95. He scored 5,444 runs in Tests at an average of 45.36, including 17 centuries and 18 half-centuries with a top-score was 299.

Crowe’s ODI runs totalled 4,704 at an average of 38.55 with four centuries and 34 half-centuries and a best score of 107 not out.

Crowe also had a spell with English county side Somerset between 1984 and 1988, scoring 19,608 runs. He retired in 1996 with a knee injury and went on to become a television commentator and author.

The cricketing world paid tribute to Crowe.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said Crowe always had a positive message for the team.

Speaking at Auckland airport on Thursday before the team 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 the Crowe 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,” Williamson said.

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann tweeted on Thursday: “Sad to hear about the passing of Martin Crowe, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family #RIP Legend. Loved knowing you.”

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan said: “Sad to hear kiwi cricket icon Martin Crowe is no more … my thoughts n prayers r with family n friends #RIPMartinCrowe.”

Named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1985, he was player of the tournament at the 1992 World Cup, scoring 456 runs in nine matches.

Legendary Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram tweeted: “RIP Martin Crowe you will always be remembered. You were the BEST I ever bowled against and a top human being. #Gonetoosoon #RIPMartinCrowe.”

Batting great Sachin Tendulkar said: “Heartfelt condolences to family and fans of #MartinCrowe. Great cricketer and a fighter till the very end.”

Former Australia pacer Damien Fleming said: “RIP Martin Crowe such a classy batsman, innovator #CricketMax, I appreciated immensley his sharp wit in the Beach cricket series #Hogan.”

Former Black Caps skipper Stephen Fleming tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the passing of martin crowe this morning. An inspiration to me and so many others. One of our true greats. RIP Hogan.”

Former Kiwi all-rounder Scott Styris wrote: “So sad to hear news of Martin Crowe passing away. For those of us who grew up watching cricket in the 80s, we owe him immensely #RIPCROWE.”

Former Australia batsman Damien Martyn said: “So sad to hear the passing of Martin Crowe. One of the games greats on and off the field. My thoughts with family and friends. #martincrowe.”

Legendary Pakistan skipper Imran Khan said: “Saddened to hear of the passing of a great cricketer Martin Crowe – the best New Zealand captain I played against.”

Former England skipper Alec Stewart tweeted: “Very very sad news to wake up to. Great player & a great man #RIPMartinCrowe.”

Former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara said: “Rest in peace Martin Crowe. A wonderful batsmen and a man with courage and conviction. Inspired generations of batsmen around the world.”

Former India great V.V.S. Laxman said: “Saddened to hear about the demise of 1 of my favourite batsman #MartinCrowe A great technician&an astute reader of the game. May his soul RIP.”

Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi said: “Kiwi Gr8 MCrowe is no more & Crkt world is poorer again..truly giant o modern batsmen & fine analyst!RIP Martin Crowe!Condolences 2 NZ Crkt!”

Spin legend Anil Kumble said: “A modern great & Ckt icon MCrowe is no more.Brilliant Ckt brain & a warm persona.Condolences 2 family, Jeff & @BLACKCAPS.Ckt will miss him.”

Among current cricketers, India Test captain Virat Kohli paid tribute tweeting: “RIP Martin Crowe, an absolute legend and an iconic star for the @BLACKCAPS My deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Harbhajan Singh said: “RIP Martin Crowe….! condolences to the family and friends.”

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