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Check the date at the top of the page - it's not April 1. Could we be about to witness the most improbable comeback in our sporting history?

New Zealand's greatest batsman, Martin Crowe, put out a message on Twitter yesterday indicating he was getting fit with a first-class cricket comeback in the back of his mind.

We've had Brian Lochore in 1971 leaving a note for his wife to say he was coming out of retirement and heading for Wellington to play a test against the Lions.

Tana Umaga returned to Super rugby five years after his last match for the Hurricanes. Mark Todd came back to the world of three-day eventing eight years after his retirement but surely, at age 48 (he would be 49 by the time the season rolled along), a first-class comeback for Crowe would top the lot.

"The truth is that I've been reading about Adam Parore on Everest and Mark Richardson [running] four marathons and I thought to myself, 'I've got to get myself a goal'," Crowe told the Herald last night.

A friend, Steve Wilkins, urged Crowe to get fit enough to play a first-class match and dangled a few stats as a carrot. Crowe is three first-class matches shy of 250 and, more intriguingly, just 392 runs short of 20,000 first-class runs.

"It was always a goal I wanted and it was only a couple of games away when I retired," Crowe said.

The gifted right-hander notched 17 test centuries and was forced out of the game 16 years ago by a chronic knee injury.

He said his joints were strong now and the knee was no longer an issue.

What he needed to do was get fit and lose some weight - that was why he gave himself the challenge.

"So I wrote it down on Twitter. If I feel good come September and I get a game or two somewhere, who knows?"

Crowe acknowledged that, in all probability, first-class cricket "will be out of reach" as Auckland would prefer to promote young talent, but coach Paul Strang welcomed the idea.

"If he is serious about jumping through the hoops required - from getting fit to club cricket and onwards - then there's no doubting he has the base talent," an incredulous Strang said.

Crowe's experience, talent and heritage would circumvent many of the usual pitfalls of age, but "the physical demands of modern cricket would be the hardest thing he would have to get used to".

Crowe, the executive producer of the Rugby Channel, has never lost his love for the sport and his desire was rekindled in the summer when he would attend games at Auckland's temporary home, Colin Maiden Park.

"All I'd say is there is always an urge to bat in a four-day game. You look at the pitch and the nice sunny afternoons and that just used to be the best thing in the world - to be in your own little cocoon just playing theball.

"I loved it; it was my favourite pastime, to just bat in a first-class game," Crowe said. "That's always an urge but ... I haven't been fit enough for a long time. It's all right batting for 10 minutes and maybe even batting well, but can I do it for three or four hours?"

Nine New Zealanders have played first-class cricket into their 50s. Why not a 10th?