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Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor speak for first time since Martin Crowe's death

Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor have spoken for the first time since the death of their cricketing mentor Martin Crowe.

Both were informed of his passing before they flew out for Dubai to prepare for the World T20 which starts in India next week.

Guptill said they were "emotional" getting on the plane. They shared a glass of wine "in memory of Hogan" once they were in the air.

Taylor introduced himself to Crowe as a 21-year-old preparing to make the transition to international cricket.

"He was passionate, emotional, a genius and probably misunderstood. A close friendship blossomed, and in the end I think a lot of people knew he had a kind heart. He just wanted to be included and give back.

Taylor said: "I wouldn't be the player I am without his guidance."
Taylor said: "I wouldn't be the player I am without his guidance."

"Some of my best innings came from his advice the night before a match. I wouldn't be the player I am without his guidance.

"My innings in Perth [290] was after I had come back from an operation and batted poorly in Brisbane. He said 'get forward until you're pushed back'. It was one of the first times in my career I started to doubt how long I would play the game. He wrote a one-and-a-half page letter - one of the most amazing letters I've ever had the pleasure of reading - about me and a reminder of why we play this game. I definitely wouldn't have got 290 without that email."

Guptill was packing his suitcase when wife Laura received the news.

Guptill said he "felt numb and quite sad" when he heard the news. Photo / Supplied
Guptill said he "felt numb and quite sad" when he heard the news. Photo / Supplied

"She got a notification from the New Zealand Herald and I felt numb and quite sad. We knew it was coming but it was still a bit of a shock."

Guptill remembered a great social relationship with Crowe as much as the cricketing bond.

"During the power outages in Auckland's eastern suburbs last year, Martin and his family came around to watch [cousin Russell's team] the Rabbitohs take out the NRL grand final.

"And before my wedding in 2014 I'll never forget an evening out with Martin, Ross and my brother-in-law, just shooting the breeze over some red wine out at Kohimarama."

Guptill would pad up in his lounge as a child, wanting to emulate Crowe. He said they had worked closely together over the last two years.

"It's been invaluable... The stuff we worked on will always be locked away in my head."
Taylor said he last saw Crowe about 10 days ago and it was the "best he had looked for a while".

The batting pair held fears Crowe would die last year during the second test against England at Headingley.

"He sent a message saying he wasn't too well, but insisted we didn't come back for the funeral if he passed away," Taylor said. "He said 'I want you and Gup to bat together'. Kane nicked out and I walked out, we glove-punched and said 'this is for Hogan'.

"I'm sure he'll be looking down telling me to play straight. I was probably a bit different to most Kiwi kids. My favourites were Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Waugh. I didn't mind watching Hogan, like at the 1992 World Cup, but I didn't model my game on him."

Taylor knew former New Zealand cricketer Ian Smith after going to school with his son Jarrod. He wanted to be a better player so Smith suggested he approach Crowe.

"He was pretty open [to talk to]. I flew to Auckland, stayed at his house, and probably learnt more about red wine than cricket initially. He could be a hard task master but I needed someone to kick me up the backside when required. He knew when to cuddle as well. He could pump your tyres up, like in a foreign country away from family and friends. A simple email or text could make a world of difference."

Taylor said Crowe's initial observations about him, which he learnt via his manager Leanne McGoldrick, were raw.

"She told Martin she'd like him to have a look at a new player called Ross Taylor. I was batting at No.5 for CD [Central Districts] at Eden Park Outer Oval against Auckland and I saw Martin walking around the boundary pushing a pram, a bit like an age group tournament selector.

"I scored about 40 off 25 balls on the first morning of a first-class match and he told Leanne I was 'nothing but a dirty slogger'. Things came a long way."

- NZ Herald

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