Tributes pour in for Martin Crowe

6:39 pm on 3 March 2016

Tributes have been flowing in for New Zealand cricketing legend Martin Crowe who died today aged 53 after a long battle with cancer.

Martin Crowe in 2013

Martin Crowe in 2013 Photo: RNZ / Dru Faulkner

Crowe played 77 tests and scored 17 test centuries - the most by a Kiwi - and finished with a test average of 45 before retiring in 1996.

Watch video of Kane Williamson paying tribute to Martin Crowe here:

Former team-mate Andrew Jones, who was involved in a record test partnership with Crowe, told Checkpoint it was just one of a number of great cricketing moments he can remember.

"That was just part of a special time in our lives, I was lucky enough to play with Martin, he was an inspiration for me even though he was a lot younger."

Jones said he was was ahead of his time for New Zealand cricketers.

"He was the only guy I think at the time who was good enough to play county cricket back then.

"He had a superb technique he was tremendous against speed, spin, whatever ... he was phenomenal at the time. I just wanted to be half as good as him really."

Jones said for all his style and grace with the bat he was also an incredibly hard worker

People have been clamouring to remember one of New Zealand's best cricketers.

Former and current players spoke about his legacy to the game:

The cricket establishment are mourning his death.

Prime Minister John Key also acknowledged his impact.

Other sporting icons have weighed in, remembering his best knocks as a player:

Fans have also spoken of watching the great cricketer play:

Sports journalist Joseph Romanos said Crowe was undoubtedly the best batsman New Zealand ever produced.

"I did a list just before Christmas of our top batsman because Kane Williamson was doing so well and I still put him top," said Romanos.

"Considering he had an international career that went 13 years, and the great bowlers he faced in his time compared to what's around now, I thought he's still clearly our number one batsman."

Romanos said aspects of Crowe's personality and captaincy meant he did not get along with everyone.

"He was a bit prickly as a character. He wrote a book which I published a couple of years ago Raw and talked about how he'd not really been very empathetic with a lot of team-mates and he wished he had been.

"It was a shame because he was really astute tactically but it meant that he wasn't always a great captain because there were divisions in the ranks."

Romanos said when he was diagnosed with cancer he reflected a lot on his life.

"He went to various doctors and physiologists and so on and they felt that he fretted about things so much and he let it sort of eat away at him so much that it was destroying his health.

"So he made a really conscious effort to sort of forgive and move on and try not to hold these life long grudges and just to be more at peace. And he said he wished he'd done that as a young guy."

John Morrison's career was winding down when he played alongside a young Crowe in the New Zealand team.

Morrison, who would later be Crowe's manager, remembers when he first came on the scene, batting for Auckland as a teenager

"I thought 'my God, how much talent has this guy got?' And he was a staggeringly good player."

Morrison said Crowe demonstrated early on in his career that he had no fear.

"He'd go and carve the West Indian bowlers all over the park, most of us would be terrified to do that because we knew we'd be in for a barrage of bouncers."

Morrison said Crowe played against some of the best bowlers cricket has seen.

"You know the likes of Thomo, and Lillee, the West Indians - Holden, Croft, Malcolm Marshall, people like that who were stunningly good bowlers.

"I would unhesitatingly say that he was the most stylish and best looking batsman we've ever produced or I've ever seen on the New Zealand scene.

"Just his poise, it was just class ... and when he got going you couldn't see anything better in world cricket, simple as that."

Morrison said the knee injury that forced Crowe to retire probably deprived him of another three or four years in the game.

A statement from the family said he passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family.

He was diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal double hit Lymphoma.

Crowe's manager Louise Henderson said in the past 18 months he had fought a courageous battle with his condition.

"Martin was, during that time, extremely positive and probably more concerned for most other people's distress at hearing of his condition and seeing what he was going through.

"So he made an absolute point of being the best that he could be."

He first played for New Zealand in 1982 when he was just 19.

Until 2014 he held the New Zealand record for the highest number of test runs after he scored 299 against Sri Lanka at Wellington's Basin Reserve in 1991 - a painful one run short of a rare triple century.

Martin Crowe is survived by wife Lorraine Downes, daughter Emma and step-children Hilton and Jasmine.