Ailing cricket legend Martin Crowe gave a heart-wrenching speech at last night's NZ cricket awards that left retiring Black Caps spinner Daniel Vettori, and most of the crowd, teary-eyed.

Acknowledged by New Zealand Cricket for his induction into the ICC's Hall of Fame in February, Crowe used his speech to commend "the coming together" of the cricket community.

But it was his stunning tribute to Vettori, while revelling how he broke down in tears at the MCG, soon after the World Cup final loss, that had his cricket audience entranced.

"Before you send me on my way, I just want to say that on March the 29th at the MCG it was an incredible day, I was very exhausted but I stood on the edge of the boundary and saw Australia lift the Cup," Crowe said.

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"And then I noticed the boys starting to walk in my direction - I didn't realise that the dressing room was right where I was.

"And I saw Dan Vettori ...and I just burst open with all the emotion that I had. He gave me a huge hug and I just said, what a career, what an inspiration.

"You set the benchmark for everyone in this team, a class of skill, devotion - you know, I, ..that was the moment for me, March 29, was Dan limping off for the last time.

"And I've got your seat warm Dan, in the Hall, right next to me buddy. You're going to have to shave though I'm afraid. They only allow moustaches, eh Paddles. And only the doctor, W. G Grace is allowed the full nasty.

"But I just want [you] to know Dan that you're going to be sitting next to me buddy, and I'm really looking forward to that moment."

Last Saturday the 52-year-old penned an emotional column for espncricinfo.com, on the eve of the World Cup final, writing:

"My precarious life ahead may not afford me the luxury of many more games to watch. So this is likely to be it. I can happily live with that.

"To see the two sons I never had, Ross Taylor and Marty Guptill, run out in black, drawing on all their resolve and resilience, will be mesmerically satisfying.

I will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent.

"Whatever happens, March 29 at the MCG will be the most divine fun ever."

Crowe has been battling for his health since announcing in October 2012 he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. Eight months later there was hope after he revealed he was free of cancer.

However, late last year Crowe announced his "friend and tough taskmaster lymphoma is back".

Having captained the New Zealand team in the early 1990s, including the team that contested the 1992 World Cup, Crowe returned to Eden Park last month and was inducted into cricket's Hall of Fame, during New Zealand's pool match against Australia.