New Zealand is a nation known more for its rugby stars than its cricketers. But through the 1980s, it could call upon two giants of the modern game—Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe. On Thursday, Crowe succumbed to lymphoma—after a four-year battle that he endured with the tenacity that saw him being counted among the world’s best batsmen from the mid-1980s onwards.
It was a period dominated by some of the finest pace bowlers to play the sport. Crowe’s handling of them displayed a technical virtuosity perhaps unmatched at the time. He retired in 1995, but in his later years, his reflection on his playing days —raw and honest—revealed the inner demons that plague elite cricketers. There is a case to be made for cricket being the most isolated, psychologically difficult sport of all. Crowe may have had a handful of peers on the field, but he is perhaps unique in the light he has cast on the toll playing the game can take on a cricketer.