Martin Crowe aims for first-class return after 15 years

Former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe
Crowe made the headband a batting accessory during his illustrious career

Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe says he wants to return to first-class cricket, 15 years after retiring.

The 48-year-old, who retired from cricket in 1996, will play club cricket with the aim of earning a recall to the Auckland first team.

Crowe is 392 runs short of 20,000 first-class runs and said that has played a part in his planned return.

"I thought that is an amazing Everest for me to climb," said Crowe, who played 77 Tests for New Zealand.

Crowe, who revealed his desire to return on Twitter, said the desire to get fit gave him the urge to play cricket again, especially after receiving a text from a friend revealing how close he was to the 20,000-run mark.

"In what is probably a bit of mid-life crisis I have come up with a solution - trying to get fit and up to speed to play a competitive game of cricket again," said Crowe, who will play for Auckland-based Cornwall Cricket Club on his comeback trail.

Crowe sits second in New Zealand's all-time leading Test run scorers behind Stephen Fleming with 5444, with a highest score of 299 and a healthy average of 45.36.

After 247 first-class games for Auckland, Central Districts, Wellington and Somerset, a persistent knee injury forced him to retire from the game before undertaking a career in the media.

But Crowe believes his leg can withstand the rigours of four days in the field.

"The knee is pretty good, it's all bolted and plated in so it's not going anywhere," he added.

While Crowe - who turns 49 on 22 September, before the start of New Zealand's Plunket Shield competition - remains realistic about returning to first-class cricket, Auckland Cricket chief executive Andrew Eade has not totally dismissed the notion.

"For him to break into that would be a huge challenge, an almost impossible challenge for a 48-year-old, but for Martin Crowe and bearing in mind all that he has done, who knows?" he said.

Crowe said his attempted comeback has been inspired by former New Zealand team-mate Adam Parore, who is attempting to climb to the peak of Everest, as well as ex-Black Cap Mark Richardson, who has run four marathons.