Richard John Hadlee Profile
Richard Hadlee began his career as a tear away fast bowler for New Zealand in 1973, but after carrying the load of the Kiwi attack for many an year, injuries began to surface, and he reduced his pace, but in turn added accuracy to armory. His out swingers bowled from close to the stump were often unplayable, while his very well disguised almost had the batsmen groping in the corridor of uncertainty. His 431 wickets in Tests stood at the top of the pile, till Kapil Dev huffed and puffed past it. His wickets came at a very cheap average of 22.
To supplement his bowling, Hadlee was a more than decent bat at the lower order, often bailing out the Kiwis with stubborn and fighting knocks. He was good enough to score 2 hundreds and 15 Test fifties, something that put him in the same league as Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Ian Botham – world’s best all rounders in the 1980s. His bowling analysis of 9/52 came against the Aussies, the only other wicket taken by Vaughan Brown – caught by, who else, but Hadlee himself.
Both his brothers, Dayle and Barry, and his wife Karen, played cricket for New Zealand, though were not as distinguished as Richard himself. In the honour of the two of the greatest cricketing families, the Hadlees and the Chappells, the New Zealand-Australia series has been christened as the Chappell-Hadlee series, while Richard Hadlee was knighted in 1990 for his services to cricket. After his playing career, Hadlee took to commentating and later became the chairman of selectors for the NZ team.