Cricket: Captaincy too much for unhappy Crowe

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The Independent Online
New Zealand. . . . . . . . . . . . .329 and 40-3

Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .298

MARTIN CROWE gave up the New Zealand captaincy while still on the field in the second Test against Australia at Wellington yesterday. Although Crowe continued to play throughout the fourth day's play, Ken Rutherford directed operations after lunch.

This rare, possibly unique occurrence, was confirmed by Warren Lees, the team coach, at the end of play, and coincided with intense pressure on Crowe because of rumours about his private life.

Last week, following the innings defeat by Australia in the first Test, Crowe suggested to Lees he might give up the captaincy, a position he has held since 1990.

The coach defended Crowe's decision and stressed it did not mean Crowe's position as captain was in jeopardy. 'Martin didn't sleep too well last night,' Lees said.

'He fielded under the helmet for the whole morning session, we had a bit of a chat at lunchtime and decided that for 20 to 30 minutes after lunch it wouldn't hurt to give (Rutherford) control of the team for a short time.'

On Saturday Crowe became furious at a press conference to complain of 'lies and innuendoes' about his personal life and questioned whether it was worth carrying on with the job. The Sunday Times, of Wellington, reported that Crowe called one journalist a liar and said he was upset by remarks made about his wife in a local television sports programme the previous evening. He also accused the media of mounting a smear campaign.

'It just doesn't seem to stop,' Crowe said. 'My wife is demoralised with the whole thing. People can write what they like about what I do as a captain or as a batsman. But there are lies being written and a lot of innuendoes which affect me personally, my marriage and my family.'

Crowe did not detail the 'lies and innuendoes' he had referred to but Auckland's Sunday Star reported he was upset by suggestions during the programme that his wife, Simone, was too closely associated with the New Zealand team organisation.

A week ago, Auckland's Sunday News quoted her as saying she was angry at repeatedly having to deny rumours that her husband has Aids.

During the rain-affected day Danny Morrison took 6 for 38 in an eight-over spell to dismiss Australia for 298. He finished with career-best figures of 7 for 89 to help New Zealand to a first-innings lead of 30.

(Fourth day; Australia won toss)

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 329 (M D Crowe 98, J G Wright 72).

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 107 for 2)

M A Taylor run out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

D C Boon c and b Morrison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

J L Langer c Blain b Watson . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

M E Waugh c and b Owens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

S R Waugh c Blain b Morrison. . . . . . . . . . . . . .75

* A R Border lbw b Morrison . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

] I A Healy c Rutherford b Morrison. . . . . . . . . . .8

M G Hughes c Wright b Morrison . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

P R Reiffel lbw b Morrison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

S K Warne c Greatbatch b Morrison . . . . . . . . . . .22

C J McDermott not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Extras (lb14 nb4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298

Fall (cont): 3-128 4-153 5-229 6-237 7-251 8-258 9-271.

Bowling: Morrison 26.4-5-89-7; Cairns 24-3-77-0; Watson 29-12-60-1; Owens 21-3-54-1; Patel 1-0-4-0.

NEW ZEALAND - Second Innings

M J Greatbatch b McDermott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

A H Jones not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

* M D Crowe lbw b McDermott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

K R Rutherford c Healy b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . .11

] T E Blain not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Extras (lb2 w1 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Total (for 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Fall: 1-4 2-9 3-30.

To bat: J G Wright, C L Cairns, D N Patel, D K Morrison, W Watson, M B Owens.

Bowling: McDermott 9-5-13-2; Hughes 6-4-12-0; Warne 10-7-7-0; Reiffel 7-4-6-1.

Uneasy sits Stewart's crown,

England A humiliated, page 27

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