In the second part of our ‘Know Your Match Officials’ series, we had a chat with former New Zealand captain, Jeff Crowe.
A long-serving official of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, Jeff Crowe looks forward to any assignment with zest but the Ashes always hold a special place in his heart.
The veteran of 85 Tests, 264 ODIs and 77 T20Is (as on 28 November 2017) as a match official, feels the history of the Ashes lift any Australia-England series to a different level and so he looks forward to being a part of them.
“Officiating, for me, I think the most memorable games have always been the Ashes – the history of the Ashes. Every opportunity I get to go and officiate in an Ashes matches or series is always one of the highlights (of my career),” said the 59-year-old Crowe.
Initiated into officiating following a recommendation from New Zealand Cricket, Crowe feels lucky to remain part of the game and considers his experience as a player a huge advantage.
“In 2004, I had just finished my role and tenure with the New Zealand cricket team, travelling the world as the team manager. I was very fortunate to be invited by the ICC through NZC. I saw this as a great opportunity as I had just moved to the USA to live.
“So, it was really a dream come true - to be able to continue living in another country and continue a role in cricket. The fact that I have been able to play the game and have now become an administrator gives me an incredibly ‘lucky perspective’ of the game of cricket,” says Crowe, whose first taste of his new job came when he assisted match referee Mike Procter in the Antigua Test of 2004 when Windies great Brian Lara slammed 400 not out against England.
Crowe considers that match as the most memorable for him as an official because of Lara’s record-breaking knock, even though it was in the ODI series to follow on the tour, when he officially started his career as a match referee.
The elder brother of ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Martin Crowe, Jeff says having his brother and Richard Hadlee boosted the morale of the New Zealand side during his heyday.
“Obviously, having Matt (Martin) on the team – he was a match winner, also Sir Richard Hadlee. With both of them playing on your team, you went in pretty confident that if everyone supported them and played well, we had a good chance,” says Crowe, who played 39 Tests and 75 ODIs from 1983 to 1990.
Jeff concedes that Martin, who died last year from cancer, always dominated the backyard cricket growing up, even though he was four years younger.
“If he won the toss, it would be two weeks or so before I was able to get him out and then I would go in and that would not last too big, so he was always very dominant in that part of our life. Then I went and played in the corner park, a beautiful, iconic ground in Auckland, which was the beginning of it all for both of us, really. It has become a terrific place to go back and review your early days,” says Crowe, who played a lot of cricket in South Australia.
Crowe feels there has been a lot of change in the way cricket is played now. He says that players have become “more physical” and probably “more skillful” but also are much more visual in their celebrations.
As for his hobbies, like many other cricketers, he too picks up the golf club, but has a special interest in different cuisines. “That’s why I like to go to India and places in the sub-continent,” says Crowe, divulging one of the attractions of remaining on tour.