Cricket great Martin Crowe has picked a New Zealand v South Africa final in the World Cup starting next month, saying he is determined to follow the tournament after once fearing he would not live out 2014.
Crowe, acknowledged as New Zealand's finest batsman, made his prediction on Wednesday as he revealed details of his battle with cancer. He appeared to have beaten a form of lymphoma about two years ago, but said late last year the disease had returned.
Talking to journalists at Eden Park in Auckland, where once he dominated with the bat, Crowe said he wanted to be remembered as "genuine, real, authentic, not false, not masked".
He said he had Australia down as World Cup favourites but felt New Zealand and South Africa were capable of surprising. "I'm picking a New Zealand v South Africa final. That's my gut feeling with South Africa due as well. We are going to win it one day and we're pretty good at home," Crowe said.
Although doctors wanted Crowe to be in hospital, he said he now preferred to shun continued chemotherapy and wanted to stay home and try natural remedies. Former All Black Grant Fox had given him supplements made from sea cucumber from Pacific Islands. "The chemo is brutal and it was going to be a 100-day vigil so I thought it would be better if I just chilled at home and so far, so good," he said.
"I am standing at the moment. I didn't necessarily think I would get through to the end of 2014 but I am here, I am feeling OK."
After several months of sleeping up to 14 hours a day he said he had been feeling good for the past three weeks and spent New Year with his cousin, the Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe. "He flew us up to his farm (in Australia) ... had all the kids and cousins there," he said.
Crowe played in 77 Tests, averaged 45.36 and scored 16 centuries which still stands as a New Zealand record.
His highest score of 299 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington against Sri Lanka in 1991 stood as a New Zealand best until Brendon McCullum scored 302 against India on the same ground last year.