Cricket great vows to fight cancer as if he were facing a battery of West Indies fast bowlers.

Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe says he is "padding up for a long innings" in his battle with cancer.

Crowe last week announced he was suffering from lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, and was now coming to terms with the reality of a life-threatening illness

"It's been one of those weeks you never really envisage," he told Newstalk ZB. "I'm fine [and] surrounded by great people."

Being diagnosed and accepting the lifestyle changes had been tough.


"It's been a week that's been exhausting, with so much information to take in.

"But I've got an understanding of what's ahead ... What I know now is it's a blood disease.

"The thing about lymphoma is it never really goes away. It's not really curable but it's very treatable so you have to nail it with chemotherapy and radiotherapy when it starts to get aggressive - and I'm probably close to that - then really have a few cracks at it."

He would need to look after himself. "That's the big thing for me, the immune system is the No1 priority."

But those choices would not be hard to make and would involve getting plenty of sleep, avoiding stress, watching his diet and giving up overseas travel "because that does me in".

Most important, though, was having "positive people" around him and he planned to draw on their support.

Crowe said he appreciated the support and messages from people around the world.

"The support's been incredible, surreal, some beautiful words from some friends as well."

He expected the lymphoma would define him and likened it to facing the West Indies in cricket.

"You get through one quick fast bowler and you have to get through another and then there's two others - that's what lymphoma is like. You sort of have to be on guard the whole time. I'm sort of padding up for a long innings. I've done it before so I know it's going to be a challenge but we'll have plenty of quality times ahead."

Since he learned of his condition, he had spent a day by himself reflecting.

"It was a good thing to do. There will be plenty of those sort of days and obviously people who go through cancer must have those all the time; it's part and parcel of it."

Crowe, one of the world's best batsmen during his 77-test career, last year launched a comeback, playing for Cornwall premier reserves.

At the time, he told the Herald he was doing it for his well-being, health and fitness. His initial aim was a place in Auckland's Plunket Shield side.

"Going back to Cornwall has been wonderful - I started there in 1968. I got the love of the game from my father and his ashes are spread there; there is also a plaque on a bench."

Crowe ended the comeback in November, when injuries flared again.


*Lymphomas are cancers that affect the lymphatic system.

*It occurs when developing lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, undergo a malignant change and multiply uncontrollably.

*It can develop at any age but the majority of lymphomas occur in people over the age of 50.

*Symptoms can include recurrent fevers, excessive sweating at night, unintentional weight loss, persistent lack of energy, generalised itching.