“If you want to know how one should live life, go and talk to people who are about to die” advised my engineering professor. “They will tell you what you missed and which things are actually important”
“But why would anyone discuss these things with others. I mean who would ever in his right mind, talk about the things he missed, about the things he should have done right, about the things he regret etc.” countered me trying to be logical.
Fast forward, the northern hemispheric summer of 2013-14. It was the tour of New Zealand by the Indian cricket team. The cricket was pulsating (well at least on occasions), the crowds were good and the commentary was pleasing to the ear. But among all this usual juxtaposed qualities that come to the fore when two good teams get into a tussle, something else took my notice: Martin Crowe’s articles.
What Martin did was weaved a story around a lesson in each of his articles. At once, he spoke about wearing masses in his life (and how he suffered a lot because of that). At another point of time, he spoke about how he felt freed and could die in peace because Brendon McCullum scored the first triple century by a New Zealander. It was these honest, moving and in depth articles that attracted many towards him. People talking about how they enjoy his writing the most would flood Cricinfo’s comments section. Many of the comments would talk about how his writing was as beautiful as his batting and they nudged me to search for his batting.
Martin Crowe, regarded as one of the best batsmen ever, who played for New Zealand, was widely acknowledged as a modern great. His finest time unarguably came while he led New Zealand in the 1992 cricket world cup. With his constantly creative captaincy he gave cricket its many firsts. Be it letting Mark Greatbatch letting it rip at the top of the order or opening the bowling with Dipak Patel giving the ball a loop, his creativity emboldened the cricket landscape.
He could have been more prolific as a batsman but his knee prevented that. He could have been more successful as a captain but his team’s limitations to stop him. So, when he retired from cricket he did not let anything stop him. Came out the stints as cricket commentary, the format of Power Max (T20 should be thankful here), the books on cricket, cricket counselling, brief coaching/mentorship gigs and his beautifully articles.
And that is how all the love for him developed and that is how I turned into an admirer of his from an ignorant cricket fan. And that is why it hurts to know of his demise, though expected it was. But as he has gone away, his soul merging into the stars far away, looking at us from up above, telling us that there is a path to follow, letting us know the mistakes he did, pointing towards his articles for his life lessons and the need to spread love and respect in sports and life.
He threatened greatness, achieved it and realised what he lost in his pursuit, that it was always for others; that may be a 150 will get him accolades and friendships. It is in his these kinds of acceptances of failures that his greatest characteristics lie. It may have come at a time when his death was too near but hopefully he has warned us just at the right time. You shall be remembered Martin, with a tear in the eye and a word of thanks in the heart. Rest in Peace Martin, Rest in Peace.
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