| Jeff Crowe in Calcutta on Wednesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: After having captained and managed New Zealand, Jeff Crowe is back on the circuit, this time in the International Cricket Council colours, as Match Referee. Incidentally, back in the early Eighties, there was talk he could play for Australia. Crowe, though, didn't 'defect'. Now settled in Florida, the 46-year-old spoke to The Telegraph on the eve of the ongoing Test.
The following are excerpts
On the newest hat he is wearing
(Smiles) I was a bit tense when I started off (in the West Indies, earlier this year) but, as I told you the other day, I'm growing in the job.
On his message to the captains on the eve of a series
That the laws are in place and must be respected... I don't talk much... That's not my style.
On his years as New Zealand's manager, an innings which ended with the last World Cup
A change was needed... Of course, it's not that I didn't enjoy those four years... Right through, I attempted to create the best environment for the players.
On the fracas in a Durban nightclub, involving Chris Cairns, during the last World Cup
As manager, I accepted responsibility but ' and this is important ' people need to know that the All Blacks (rugby) team had also been attacked previously, in Durban itself... The security personnel knew that New Zealanders become a target there... In my book, it wasn't an act of indiscipline on Cairns' part.
On whether it was tough 'handling' the temperamental Cairns
In fact, I didn't have any problem... I'm not sure whether it helped, but we happen to be distantly related... If I may add, Cairns' debut Test (1989-90) was my second last and, so, we even played together.
On New Zealand's inconsistency
I accept that, but if you look around, inconsistency is the bane of all teams except Australia... I doubt if there's an instant remedy, yet the effort should be to get better at everything.... Also, you must remember that the retirement of some seniors, in recent times, has hurt us.
On New Zealand getting smashed by Australia in the just-ended two-Test series
Well, what's there to say' I was hopeful of a rally after the first (Brisbane) Test rout but, obviously, New Zealand couldn't make an impression... Now, Stephen Fleming and his boys have to look forward to the three ODIs... Cairns and (Chris) Harris are going to be available and, so, our chances will be better.
On Fleming as captain
He's among the very best... He likes leading from the front and is an excellent communicator... His body language seems to tell the players 'I'm there'... He gives a sense of comfort.
On whether he had a role model captain
Ian Chappell... He had all the qualities... Leading from the front, getting the respect of his players, intimidating the opposition and, generally, looking to achieve the highest standards... Seeing him from close quarters, while turning out for South Australia, was an education.
On Imran Khan (in a recent interview to The Telegraph) picking younger brother Martin as one of the captains he admired
Only confirms the stature Martin enjoyed... He was comfortable in the job... Was innovative... He was a good thinker and learnt from the Ian Chappells. But for a bad knee, he would have had a longer innings as a player and as captain.
On his 'rivalry' with Martin
I didn't feel inferior because he played for New Zealand before I did... In our backyard, we were fierce competitors and Martin has gone on record saying those battles helped sharpen his own game. (Adds laughing) Even today, Martin wants to get the better of me ' in golf, that is. I play off three and he plays off four-five but, if he has a goal, it's to go one better than his elder brother.
On what keeps Martin busy nowadays
He's into TV in a big way and plays a key role in the telecast of cricket in New Zealand. He's enjoying it.
On whether cricket can displace rugby as the No.1 sport in New Zealand
I don't see that happening... Certainly not in the near future.
Finally, on returning to the Eden 17 years after bagging the Man of the Match award (for an unbeaten 88) in a World Cup game against Zimbabwe
Honestly, I can't recall much about that innings... What I'm sure of is that I was the captain... I doubt if the stadium looks very different...