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Sir Richard Hadlee // Getty

NZ legend Hadlee diagnosed with cancer

New Zealand legend Sir Richard Hadlee expected to make a full recovery from bowel cancer after undergoing surgery

Legendary New Zealand allrounder Sir Richard Hadlee has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

A tumour was found during a routine three-year colonoscopy last month, and he has since had a successful operation to have it removed, from which he made an "excellent recovery".

Legends Month: Hadlee's record Test haul

The details were released via a press statement from New Zealand Cricket, issued on behalf of Lady Dianne Hadlee.

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

Unquestionably New Zealand's greatest-ever cricketer, Hadlee was a colossus in the game throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and was the first man to take 400 Test wickets.

He played his final Test in 1990, and took a wicket with his last delivery. Only spin pair Muthiah Muralidaran and Shane Warne have taken more than his nine 10-wicket hauls in Test cricket.

Perhaps his most famous performance occurred in Brisbane in 1985-86; his return of 9-52 in the first innings at the Gabba remains the best bowling by any player – home-grown or visiting – in a Test played in Australia.

Complemented by 6-71 in the second dig, his match return stands similarly unsurpassed across 141 years of Tests in Australia, and when coupled with the half-century he contributed with the bat he is the only cricketer to claim 15 wickets and score 50-plus in a single match.

Throw in a couple of catches, and Hadlee's domination of the match is deservedly recalled as the defining feature of his nation's first Test win in Australia.

And with a return of 33 wickets at 12.15 (again, unrivalled in a three-Test series in Australia) he was the undisputed star of NZ's breakthrough 2-1 triumph, their one and only success on the far side of the Tasman in 12 campaigns to date.

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