It would be reasonable to say that Sir Richard Hadlee practically bore on his shoulders the whole of New Zealand’s bowling. His retirement in 1990 left New Zealand deprived of a potential match-winner who had brought the little cricketing nation to unparalleled high levels in the longer form of the game, which had until then been a mere fantasy for Australia’s small brothers.
Hadlee was one of Walter Hadlee ‘s five sons, and cricket was already in his blood. Early drafted into the game, he debuted as a fast tear away and formed a reliable pair for Canterbury with his brother Daryll Hadlee during the season 1971-72. It started a long and illustrious career that made Sir Richard Hadlee the first ever bowler to scalp 400 Test wickets.
Hadlee has reserved his best in an impressive test career for Australia’s arch-rivals scalping 130 wickets from 23 test matches. Hadlee was a part of 22 Kiwi victories, and his position was outstanding in those wins, a rich haul of 173 wickets at an average of 13.06. In his final bowling performance, Hadlee ended his test career by taking five wickets and taking a wicket with the last ball of his Test career.
Shortly after he retired from the game in 1990, Hadlee received his Knighthood. Hadlee ended a glittering Test career with 431 wickets from 86 Tests and was the highest wicket-taker for a long time before Kapil Dev overtook him as another great all-rounder. The north stand of Christchurch’s AMI stadium is named after the Hadlee brothers as Australia and New Zealand play an annual ODI contest called the Chappell-Hadlee cup.
Since his retirement, Hadlee has worked as a media analyst and even held a stint as president of the national selection panel. In 2009, Sir Richard Hadlee was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from Nottingham University.
What is your pick for the player of New Zealand in all-time Test XI? Do you agree with us?