Richard Dianne Hadlee bowl cancer surgery recovery colonoscopy New Zealand
Richard Hadlee © Getty Images

Sir Richard Hadlee, unarguably as the greatest cricketer in the history of New Zealand, knighted while being an active cricketer, honoured by Wisden as the second-greatest bowler of all time, and one of Twelve Local Heroes of Christchurch, had been suffering from bowel cancer for some time. This was diagnosed by a colonoscopy over three years. However, he has recovered from surgery, and will undergo chemotherapy, mostly for the sake of safety. Below is the official statement from Lady Dianne Hadlee, released afterwards Sir Richard underwent surgery:

“Last month, Richard had a routine, 3-year colonoscopy, and we discovered that he has bowel cancer.

“He has since had an operation to remove the tumour. This operation went extremely well and he has made an excellent recovery from surgery.

“As a safeguard, further treatment in the form of chemotherapy will commence shortly and last for a few months.

“It is expected that, in time, he will have a full recovery.

“Our reasons for making this statement are a desire to be transparent, and to prevent the inevitable speculation and incorrect rumours.

“I would also request people’s understanding and acceptance of our request for privacy while we go through the next few months, both for ourselves and for the extended Hadlee family.”

Hadlee’s outstanding career lasted 86 Tests, over which he took 431 wickets — a world record when he retired — at 22.29. Also considered one of the four great all-rounders of The Decade of All-Rounders, Hadlee is one of two cricketers to have done the 1,000 run-100 wicket double in a single English season since the number of matches per season was reduced, for Nottinghamshire. He was also the chief architect of New Zealand’s historic series win in Australia in 1985-86.