New Zealand’s leading Test wicket taker Richard Hadlee has had surgery for bowel cancer and will have follow-up chemotherapy treatment, his family said on Wednesday.
The 66-year-old Hadlee, who is considered one of the finest fast bowlers of all time having retired in 1990 with 431 test wickets, had surgery after a routine checkup discovered a tumour.
“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,” his wife Dianne Hadlee said in a statement issued by New Zealand Cricket.
Hadlee said that as a safeguard, the fast bowling legend would soon commence chemotherapy treatment and “it is expected that, in time, he will have a full recovery”.
“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, the statement concluded.
The right-arm fast bowler, who was the first player to take 400 test wickets and held the record for most wickets until India’s Kapil Dev surpassed it in 1994, was also a handy all-rounder scoring two test centuries.