* Geoffrey Rabone. New Zealand cricket captain. Died aged 84

Modern cricket millionaires with their thousands of runs, hundreds of wickets and dozens of test and one-day international matches are hard to compare with the cricket world of Geoff Rabone.

The record might suggest that Rabone, a tall all rounder (right-hand bat and right-arm off-spinner able to also produce leg breaks) was something of a cricketing pauper.

He played in 12 tests (captain five times) for five losses and seven draws. His 562 runs in tests included one century and he took 16 wickets with one bag of six for 68.

His first-class tally for Wellington and Auckland included 3415 runs and 173 wickets in 82 first-class matches.

He started as a teenage spinner for Wellington in 1940-41, and finished with fitting fanfare as a member of Lord Cobham's XI which played that great piece of cricket against Dennis Silk's MCC side at Eden Park in 1961.

Rabone's number of games over that span of years (including a war) gives some indication of how little first-class cricket was available to the amateur New Zealander back then.

By harsh standards Rabone may not always have been a test batsman or bowler of high test quality (in short supply in New Zealand in the 50s).

But he could wrap his long fingers round astonishing catches.

Rabone played his cricket vigorously, intelligently and often with good humour. He relished the challenges of the game, the arts, the way that cricket - and life - could take new shape.

Up to the end of Rabone's time in tests New Zealand had never won.

His last test as captain ended with New Zealand's all-time record low score of 26 in the second innings against Len Hutton's England at Eden Park in 1955.

The next year NZ won their first test, beating the West Indies at the same ground. But Rabone was not in the team.

During World War II, in his early 20s, Rabone was a Lancaster bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force. He was shot down just after the D-Day invasion and hidden on a French farm for several weeks before English troops liberated him.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and family.