NEW Zealand cricket legend Sir Richard Hadlee has undergone surgery after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

According to New Zealand Cricket, a tumour was discovered during a routine check-up last year and the 66-year-old is has been making excellent progress since being operated on.

The news was confirmed in a statement issued on behalf of Lady Dianne Hadlee.

“As a safeguard, further treatment in the form of chemotherapy will commence shortly and last for a few months,” the statement read. “It is expected that, in time, he will have a full recovery.

“Our reasons for making this statement are a desire to be transparent, and to prevent the inevitable speculation and incorrect rumours.

“I would also request people’s understanding and acceptance of our request for privacy while we go through the next few months, both for ourselves and for the extended Hadlee family.”

Hadlee was a giant of the sport during the 1970s and 80s and became the first man to claim 400 Test wickets.

His career came to an end in 1990.