Calcutta: Former New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe, who has been a Match Referee for years, spoke to The Telegraph about younger brother Martin (also a New Zealand captain), who has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
At 54, Jeff is four years older to Martin. Interestingly, Martin played first for New Zealand, in 1982, a year before Jeff's debut.
The following are excerpts from the one-on-one at Taj Bengal
Q How is Martin now?
A I think he's much at ease now, after the latest reports have indicated he neither needs surgery nor chemotherapy at this point in time. The lymphoma is non aggressive, so it's more of a wait-and-watch approach... This is a positive development.
Who broke the news to you?
Martin called me in Florida, where I stay... He sounded pretty devastated and was emotional. Since then, he's gone through ups and downs.
What did you tell Martin?
I allowed Martin to do most of the talking. I said what I needed to as a brother... That he had a very strong mind, that he had the inner strength and that he'd pull through this.
When did you last speak to Martin?
Last week... He came across a lot more positive... Today, it's about keeping the cancer at bay, having a healthy lifestyle and managing it. He's in Auckland, where our sister (Deborah) also stays.
So, what's the way forward for Martin?
Martin has to have a check-up every four months... He's told me that 'you don't ever really beat it, but you can live with it'... You need to quickly come to terms with the emotional trauma. For Martin, it's not a drastic scenario and people have been known to live with lymphoma for 15-20 years. If it raises its head, then you need to do more to get rid of it.
Your father, David William, had cancer...
Yes... He died of pancreatic cancer at 66, so it's sort of in the family system... Look, nobody is exempt from getting cancer... My time could come at any moment.
Martin has blamed ailments picked up on tours with New Zealand for his illness. To what extent was he compromised?
He had problems in the latter part of the 1980s, which weakened his immune system. Salmonella, in particular, hurt him badly. One reason why he left the game early is because his immune system had broken down.
Do you intend meeting Martin in the near future?
I'm keeping an eye on his health... I've got these (ICC) commitments... If it's needed, I'll go to Auckland and support him in person.
Has the fraternity been contacting you for updates?
It's touching... So many have asked about Martin's health. I can sense the relief when I tell them that the latest reports have been rather positive.
How would you describe Martin?
An intriguingly intelligent individual... Strong-minded... An open, honest person... An incredibly loving and loyal brother and a committed family man... Martin loves the game... I know what goes on in the sport drives him mad from time to time, but he's very much a man of his mind.
Being strong-minded must be helping Martin...
That's why he's not asking 'why me'?... Rather, he's asking 'where do I get that inner strength'? and 'how do I use my mental strength'?
Finally... Quite a few cricketers have been diagnosed with cancer in the past year, Yuvraj Singh being one of them... He's made a comeback. What are your thoughts?
Yuvraj is an inspiration, absolutely... It must have been a traumatic experience, but he turned out to be a tower of strength. His indeed is an incredible, an inspirational story.