Martin Crowe had not played cricket for two years.

He was in London in 1997 and commentator Mark Nicholas was asked to put together a team to play the visiting Australian side. Crowe did not want to play, he hadn't done any training, his knee was damaged but he was persuaded to be involved.

On the drive to the game, Crowe asked about the batting order and who would open. When Nicholas said he might have to, Crowe promoted himself.

Mark Nicholas on the life and career of Martin Crowe

Australia got plenty and then Glenn McGrath beat Crowe three times outside off stump in the opening over.


"It was not pretty, I thought this is not going to work it's a disaster," Nicolas recalled.
Crowe left the first ball of McGrath's next over, was beaten with the second then thumped the third off the back foot through extra cover.

"It was the most glorious stroke you have ever seen and two hours later he was 150 not out. If any of the rest of us muppets had been able to climb the ladder he did that day we would have pissed the game."

After the match Aussie opener Michael Slater said he practiced every day and could not play like Crowe who'd killed it after two years out of the game. How did he do it?
Everyone was in awe that day and Crowe just smiled and raised his glass.