Mumbai: It was his recommendation that made Decision Review System (DRS) a reality. There are few in the cricket fraternity who warrant more respect both on and off the field. From opening the bowling with a spinner in an ODI, to introducing a three-dimensional facet to cricket coverage as an executive television producer, innovation and New Zealand legend Martin Crowe, go in chorus.
Having hung his boots in 1994, arguably New Zealand's greatest-ever batsman is contemplating a serious comeback to the sport, at the age of 48. Here are the excerpts of his interview with Mid-Day.
What has prompted you to make a comeback at this age? Are you 'half-serious' as suggested by the New Zealand media, or 'very serious'?
I'm serious about playing good competitive club cricket. If successful and fit, I am available for Auckland in four-day cricket anytime. I'm done with commentary and NZC, so I am heading back to my grassroots where it all started as a six-year-old at Cornwall CC. I will get involved as a player/coach first. This will challenge me to get fully fit. I will also challenge the young talent to be better first-class players, as at present Auckland are last in the national first-class\ competition.
The NZ media wrote that you looked in great touch during a net session earlier this week. How's your body coping up?
My body is coping well. My knees are stable and strong, my aerobic capacity is building, but I need to work on getting enough speed between the wickets. My batting itself is coming along surprisingly well. I'm getting enormous joy doing this all again.
What's your opinion on the DRS? Is Hot-Spot and Snicko-meter all that is needed to make it work? Also, what's your take on India's rigid stance?
I initiated the creation of DRS in 2007 while on the MCC World Committee due to my experience in TV. But DRS was always meant to have only one challenge, yet ICC started with three! Hot-Spot is instant and must be used; Snicko isn't ready for instant use and therefore can't be used. Hawkeye is 99.5 per cent accurate. It's all there to utilise, but ICC won't pay, and India won't play. It's quite petty really, and cricket loses out again. We are all tired of the grandstanding.
You haven't refrained from saying in the past that ICC must get rid of the ODIs. The World Cup was a phenomenal success from a commercial sense. Do you still stand by what you said?
What I said is that ICC should focus more on two forms, and playing all these ridiculous amounts of ODIs is not a balanced approach. Tests are the pinnacle, T20 for the condensed commercial entertainment package and to keep 50 overs going, it must be cut right back, not the game itself, but the scheduling of it. It's shown that it's still the best tournament format.
Could you tell us a little about the work you have done for Sky's cricket coverage?
I started at Sky in 1996 with creation of Cricket Max; became Executive Producer in 1999, covering all cricket in New Zealand. I introduced 3D virtual technology in 2002. Later, I moved over to run Sky's Rugby Channel in 2009.
You recently quit the NZ Cricket Committee. What led you to stay away from New Zealand's cricket system (for most of your post-retirement life)? With regards to coaching, selection, administration, etc. was production/coverage/TV your calling?
Television was my calling, but I was always available to coach one-on-one, which I did from 1996 to 2003. Then, John Bracewell banned all players from using me from 2003 to 2008. Ross Taylor ignored him, thankfully. I left commentary in 2009 to get more involved with NZC, but resigned from committee due to a few reasons. Mainly, I was wasting my time with this present
You've come up with most innovative ideas to make cricket a more commercially viable product. You've made a lot of recommendations to ICC over the years...
Triple treble: Tours with balance 3 T20s, 3 ODIs and 3 Tests; DRS; Test championship annually; further papers on slow play, ICC governance, Cowdrey lecture 2006.
If T20 was to reach a more global audience, does it have to be through independent T20 leagues? Can it ever do it via the international format? You have praised Lalit Modi in the past. Has cricket lost a great administrator (since he is no longer with BCCI)?
T20 at international level needs to be played in balance with other forms. Otherwise it's ideally suited for domestic leagues. Lalit Modi had vision and courage.
Your take on the new NZ cricket structure new captain Ross Taylor, coach John Wright and Director of Cricket John Buchanan...
Three good choices in the roles you mention. But at international level the most important area to get right is selection of the team.
I would have an independent panel under Mark Greatbatch let selectors select, coaches coach, captains captain, players play.
But this is the way modern cricket is going, having it all under one main man. I reserve judgment, and wish them all well.