Lindsay Crocker, who passed away on Sunday morning aged 64, was one of life’s logical thinkers, playing a central role in the professional transition of both Auckland Cricket and NZC.
An opening batsman for Northern Districts between 1982-83 and 1988-89, Mr Crocker was chief executive of Auckland Cricket from 1996 to 2003 before heading south to take on the role of NZC’s first full-time BLACKCAPS manager.
He retained that position until being made NZC Head of Cricket Operations in 2009; retiring in 2016.
At Auckland Cricket he oversaw significant constitutional changes to the Board, in which club delegates resigned and were replaced by independent directors, and at Lincoln he took control of the BLACKCAPS shortly after the ground-breaking players’ strike, succeeding Jeff Crowe in a swept-up professional manager role.
The position was the forerunner for the role more recently filled by the highly successful Mike Sandle, and currently by Simon Insley.
It made sense, he said at the time, as the BLACKCAPS were responsible for driving the lion’s share of NZC’s annual revenue – via both TV broadcasting rights values, and ICC tournament dividends.
"Yet it was run by a set-up that wasn't even represented fulltime in the organisation," he said. “We contracted a manager who came in at the start of a series and departed at the end.
"From that perspective, the new changes are more to do with common sense than anything radical."
Common-sense was something Mr Crocker had in spades. He was often direct, frank, and sometimes flinty, with an ability to play devil’s advocate in order to ensure all sides of an issue were adequately explored.
He was also one of the game’s great story-tellers, possessing a wonderful sense of humour and a loud and infectious laugh.
NZC chief executive David White said Mr Crocker’s death was an immensely sad time for everyone in the New Zealand cricket family, especially former team-mates, those who had worked alongside him, and those who had received the benefit of his wisdom as manager of the BLACKCAPS.
“Lindsay was hugely respected in the various capacities he undertook at both Auckland Cricket and New Zealand Cricket,” said Mr White.
“He knew cricket inside out and made a massive contribution to the success we’ve seen across the organisation over the past decade.
“He had a good business brain; he was innovative as well as a great trouble-shooter – and he was always really interested in people, which made him a lot of fun to be around.”
Mr Crocker is survived by wife Robyn, son Ryan and daughter Sydney, and stepsons Scott and Thomas.
A celebration of Mr Crocker’s life will be held at Dil's Funeral Services, 185 Schnapper Rock Road, Albany from 1.30pm on Sunday 14 May.