London: Martin Crowe was one of cricket's most elegant batsmen, and one of its deepest thinkers.
New Zealand's Martin Crowe during his 115-run knock in the third Test against England at Old Trafford in 1994. Pic/Getty Images
The former New Zealand captain, who has died of cancer at the age of 53, cared more than millions could have first imagined about the sport he adorned.
Crowe's playing career was cut short by injury at the age of 33 but, after a Test debut at 19, he was both a technical paragon and compelling strokemaker on the world stage for much of the 1980s and 90s.
He led his country in 16 of his 77 Tests, was part of a first series victory in England in 1986, and an intuitive captain and prolific run-maker en route to the 1992 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan on his home ground in Auckland.
Crowe's body of work — more than 10,000 international runs — lays obvious claim for him to be considered New Zealand's greatest ever batsman.
Yet it was his method, to purist and casual alike, that set him apart.
Correct and commanding in defence, he was exhilarating in attack. A technician and a crowd-pleaser, the complete batsman to a generation of cricketers and cricket followers.
If Crowe appeared in stylish control throughout at the crease, though, underneath it transpired there lay an unexpected consternation.
To the wider world, it became apparent only in retirement when he began as an administrator and commentator to articulate — often brilliantly — his nuanced opinions, hopes and fears.
Crowe, the son of first-class cricketer David and one of New Zealand's outstanding women's players Audrey, and younger brother of fellow Kiwi captain Jeff, was evidently to the manner born.
Even so, his rise to prodigious prominence by his late teens was extraordinary.
Before his Test debut in 1982, his talent was known already a world away from his birthplace.
For example by those who watched him make an unbeaten century for the MCC Young Cricketers against MCC, or those in the Bradford League who saw him prove himself a class apart for Pudsey St Lawrence, Len Hutton's club no less and subsequently that of Crowe's 1992 World Cup team-mate Mark Greatbatch.
Virat Kohli @imVkohli: RIP Martin Crowe, an absolute legend and an iconic star for the @BLACKCAPS My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Mohammed Azharuddin @mpazhar: What a Man!! What a Player!! Heartfelt condolences to dear friend #MartinCrowe and his family #RIPMartinCrowe
Brian Lara @BrianLara: It is sad to hear of the passing of one of cricket's greatest players. First played against Martin WC92 but was always an admirer #RIPMartin
Mahela Jayawardena @MahelaJay: Sad to hear about the passing away of Martin Crowe. A wonderful player who I grew up watching and admired. My condolences to his family!
Michael Vaughan@MichaelVaughan: Gutted to wake up to hear of the passing away of Martin Crowe...A player & person I hugely admired .. A true great of the game .. #RIPHogan