Saturday, May 21, 2011

Martin Crowe’s cricket comeback

The cricket news story of the week was the tweeted intention of cricket great Martin Crowe to return to First Class cricket at age 48.
I really hope Martin can pull it off. His forced retirement in 1995 because of a dicky knee was a big blow to New Zealand cricket. I’m sure he would’ve become the first New Zealand batsman to post 20 Test centuries - the mark that Test batsmen often aim for.
As it stands, he has an average of 56 in First Class cricket. It’d be great to see him don the pads for Auckland to reach his 250th game. Let’s hope his body stands up to the fitness levels required for making the mark.
It made me think of another cricketing comeback. On the 1964/65 tour of India and Pakistan, New Zealand legend Bert Sutcliffe came out of retirement at age 41. He went on to score 151 not out against India at Eden Gardens and averaged 45.66 for the four match series. That was the innings where Sutcliffe featured in a big partnership with a young Bruce Taylor who went on to score a Test century himself (105).
Sutcliffe didn’t fare so well on the Pakistan leg (averaging 15.25 and battling illness) and on the ’65 tour of England he was hit on the head by Freddie Trueman and retired hurt in his last Test appearance after making 53 in the first innings. The unbeaten 151 (355 minutes at the crease) in hot subcontinent conditions will mark as one of his best Test innings.
I wish Martin well for his intended comeback. Anyone wishing to know more about Sutcliffe’s comeback should read Richard Boock’s excellent biography, The Last Everyday Hero: The Bert Sutcliffe Story.

Article © Mark Pirie 2011

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