Former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum has paid tribute to another pioneering national skipper, saying it is hard to imagine the New Zealand cricket landscape without Martin Crowe.

McCullum, who retired from international cricket following the recently completed series against Australia, said the team had been "emboldened" by the support of the ailing batsman over the past couple of years.

Crowe, 53, died yesterday after a prolonged battle with double-hit lymphoma.
"He was a huge supporter of the way we played our cricket; I think the style we adopted at the time resonated strongly with him - he was always encouraging us to go higher, further, faster," McCullum said.

"That meant a lot to us. To have someone of Martin's stature backing us so publicly gave us a lot of confidence."


The dashing right-hander was in many ways the polar opposite to Crowe as a batsman - while Crowe was a stylist in the textbook mould, McCullum preferred to subdue the opposition through brute force.

Mark Nicholas on the life and career of Martin Crowe