New Zealand batting great Martin Crowe said yesterday that the cancer he was diagnosed with last year was under control and he was cutting all ties with cricket to reduce his stress levels.
Crowe said he believed worrying about cricket, particularly the axing of his protege Ross Taylor as New Zealand captain late last year, exacerbated his lymphatic cancer, leading to a large tumour in his stomach.
After five months of chemotherapy, the 50-year-old said doctors had told him his cancer had shrunk to safe levels, although there was always the possibility of a relapse. “All through my left side the lymph nodes have gone back to their normal size,” he told RadioSport.
“The big tumour I grew over the Taylor affair from nothing over 20 days, which was four by three centimetres (1.6 by 1.2 inches), has reduced down to one and a half centimetres (0.6 inches).”
Crowe said the impact that the controversial decision to drop Taylor in favour of Brendon McCullum had on his health showed him he needed to step away from the game. “(It fuelled) my anger, my negative emotion, my response to a fight that wasn’t even mine,” he said.
“It just conjured up 20 years of suppressed anger towards this organisation (New Zealand Cricket) that I had devoted a lot of my life to. I literally couldn’t stomach what was happening to Ross.”
Crowe, the cousin of Hollywood star Russell Crowe, has previously blamed illnesses picked up during his 13-year international cricket career for making him vulnerable to cancer. He said he could no longer be involved in the game if he wanted to keep the disease at bay.
“It’s an addiction, I’m like an alcoholic,” he said. “It’s been in my blood since I could walk, since I lifted a bat at the age of five. Much as I’d like to turn on the telly to watch Ross bat or New Zealand play a Test match, I can’t. It’s not healthy for me, not now.”