Cancer-hit legend plays farewell game at Cornwall Park and looks ahead to NZ-Australia Cup Cricket World Cup contest.

Cricketing great Martin Crowe wants to see one thing only at Eden Park - a contest (preferably with a Black Caps win).

"We haven't had a contest yet. The top sides have been beating each other up," Crowe said. "So I'd like to see a contest, right down to the last few overs. It's what the Cricket World Cup needs."

The World Cup legend, 52, who is battling terminal cancer, played in a legends knockabout at his beloved Cornwall Park yesterday, before making a brief appearance in front of the media.

"My dad's ashes are out there, so I thought it would be nice to bat an over. I've treated this as my last outing on the old ground.


"It's just a nice day promoting the old club."

Today's game is reviving memories of the opening clash of the 1992 World Cup, when Crowe's scene-setting 100 not out was the difference between the two teams.

"I'm not really capable of too much, but I wish them well. It'll be huge, 45,000 people.

"I want to be there, along with the whole nation.

"If you could fit four million in there, great. But it is only a round-robin game."

Crowe's captaincy was one of the touchstones of the 1992 campaign, particularly his innovative use of offspinner Dipak Patel with new ball, and a platoon of slow-medium bowlers who dried up the opposition.

You could never compare Crowe's arsenal with that of Brendon McCullum's, but he is impressed by the captaincy of the current side.

"They're on a lovely path, led beautifully, and they're filling every hole as it needs to be filled. [Today's] just another little challenge for them," he said.


"I admire [McCullum's] courage. He's always worn that side of him on his sleeve and there's no holding back and that's just brilliant because at the 11th hour that's what you want from your leader."

Capping a poignant day, Crowe will be inducted into cricket's Hall of Fame. "It'll be emotional, which worries me. I'll save any thoughts for after the game tomorrow."

New Zealand Cricket, however, were happy to give their thoughts on the country's third inductee, behind Sir Richard Hadlee and Debbie Hockley.

Chief executive David White said Crowe had made an immense contribution to New Zealand and international cricket.

"Martin was a thoughtful and innovative leader; a wonderful batsman, and a role model for many of the up-and-coming New Zealand batsmen who followed.

"During his heyday he was, arguably, without peer as an international batsman and at the 1992 Cricket World Cup, certainly so.

"However, what I'll remember Martin's batting for most are the three wonderful centuries he made in the mid-80s against the West Indies, at time when Viv Richards' side boasted the most hostile fast-bowling attack the world has seen."