Born September 14, 1958, Jeff John Crowe is a former New Zealand captain and currently a renowned ICC match-referee. On his 57th birthday, Suvajit Mustafi looks at 12 facts about the man who turned up to answer the calls of his homeland.

1.  Cricketing family

Jeff is the son of Dave Crowe, a New Zealand First-Class player, who has played for Canterbury and Wellington.  His younger brother, the gifted Martin Crowe, went on to be one of the greatest New Zealand batsmen and led them to World Cup semis in 1992.

2.  The world famous cousin

Both Jeff and Martin are cousins of Hollywood superstar Russell Crowe. The cousins share a close bond.

jeff crowe

3.  First-Class cricket in Australia

Crowe decided to ply his trade across the Tasman Sea. He made his First-Class debut for South Australia against the touring Indian side. It was an inauspicious start as he scored a naught and one. However his Shield debut was impressive and he scored 48 and 54.

4.  Choosing New Zealand over Australia

Crowe had a prolific 1978-79 season and in 1981-82, he scored 704 runs at 50.28. It’s believed Australian selectors were keenly monitoring his progress and he had a chance to turn up for Australia but he returned to New Zealand and played for Auckland to boost his chances for playing for his country of birth.

5.  International debut

Quite ironically, he made his international debut for New Zealand against Australia. In a One-Day International (ODI) at Melbourne, he managed only seven. Two months later, he played his first Test and scored 12 against Sri Lanka.

6.  Top-scorer from NZ during 1985 West Indies tour

New Zealand were absolutely steamrolled by West Indies in the 1985 tour. Against the likes of Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall, Crowe put up a gutsy effort. He top-scored for New Zealand with 252 runs at 36. He scored 64 in the first innings of the first Test at Port of Spain and then a 112 at Kingston. New Zealand went on to lose the Test series 2-0.

7.  Hundred on captaincy debut

In April 1987, Crowe scored a ton at Colombo in his first Test as New Zealand captain. That was also his last hundred in Test cricket. Crowe captained the side in six Tests, winning none. In ODIs, from 16 matches, he enjoyed success in four.

8.  New Zealand manager

Crowe was the manager of the New Zealand side from 1999 to 2003.

9.  Business

He moved his base to Florida, US and tried his luck in business. He ran a business for golfing holidays.

10.  Back to cricket

His love for the game pushed him back to it. Crowe became a ICC match-referee in 2004.

11.  The goof-ups in the consecutive World Cup finals

Crowe is a respected match-referee and has had a good run in the role however there are some notable glitches. The 2007 World Cup final ended on a sorry note, in utter darkness. He failed to manage the situation but he did accept the blame with dignity. In the following World Cup final, he failed to hear Kumar Sangakkara’s call at the toss at a noisy Wankhede Stadium and the coin had to be flipped again.

12.  Leaping one milestone after another

In 2012, he became only the fifth match referee to officiate in more than 50 Tests. In 2014, he also became the third match referee to officiate in more than 200 ODIs.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)