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Richard Hadlee

'I wasted the first four years of my career'

The New Zealand great recalls his tours to India, his battle with depression, and speaks of the challenges facing modern-day allrounders

Siddarth Ravindran

August 19, 2013

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

Sir Richard Hadlee
"I was three times more effective off the shorter run-up in the last ten years of my career than the first ten years" © Getty Images

Richard Hadlee's first tour to India was in 1976, an ill-tempered affair during which New Zealand were unhappy with the umpiring throughout. Their frustrations came to the fore in the final Test, in Madras, when Hadlee flung a bail at the umpire after Anshuman Gaekwad wasn't ruled out hit-wicket. To make things worse, the heat and humidity contributed to him falling violently ill ten minutes into the game, and kept him off the field for a day and a half. He swore that he would never return to the subcontinent.

He did come back, reluctantly, in 1988, clearly enticed by the opportunity to break Ian Botham's Test record for most wickets. Hadlee had a harrowing six months preceding the tour, recovering from a calf injury that Richie Benaud thought would keep him from ever playing cricket again. On the rest day of the first Test, in Bangalore, Hadlee and several of his team-mates came down with severe stomach problems, and New Zealand were forced to request a cameraman to take the field.

There was mitigation for Hadlee, though, as within 18 minutes of the series starting, he achieved his long-coveted record. It was in honour of this achievement that he was in Bangalore last week, invited as part of the Karnataka State Cricket Association's platinum jubilee celebrations. He was far more at ease on his latest visit to India, joking and sharing anecdotes about his previous trips.

"Seeing Gundappa Vishwanath, I reminded him of the time he got a hundred in Kanpur in 1976. [It] happened to be the last over of the day when he was 99 not out, I wanted to make sure he wouldn't get a hundred and he'd have to come back and bat next day. I did bowl a fair barrage of short-pitched deliveries. Mind you, they didn't have to be that short to get over his head, even my yorkers would go over his head, so to speak!"

There was an Indian connection to another highlight of Hadlee's career: he dismissed Sanjay Manjrekar at his home ground, Lancaster Park, to become the first man to 400 Test wickets. Fred Trueman, the first to 300 wickets, had famously said when asked whether his record would be broken, "Aye, but whoever does will be bloody tired." Hadlee similarly expected his record to stand a while, but Kapil Dev broke it less than four years after Hadlee's retirement.

"I thought when I got to 431 in England in 1990 that the benchmark had been set and that it was going to take a long time for somebody to get past my record, and it was Kapil that did that when he got to 434, I think. For me, it was nice to be a pace-setter, I always realised then that somebody would go beyond what I did, and it wouldn't devalue what I did, and it wouldn't devalue what Fred Trueman did." With Muttiah Muralitharan now having stretched the count to an almost unbelievable 800, Hadlee again thinks the record will stand a while. "[Whoever breaks it] would have to play 30 years probably," he says, with a chuckle.

One of the motivations for Hadlee in an 18-year career was the equally impressive achievements of the three other great allrounders of his time, Imran Khan, Botham and Kapil. Hadlee has no doubt who was the best of the four.

"Jacques Kallis is actually one of the few that has adapted to all formats of the game and survived. Remarkable. Statistically he is the greatest allrounder ever in the history of the game"

"As a batsman, Imran could bat anywhere in the top six, sometimes in the top four, and play any type of innings depending on the circumstance of the game. He was quite versatile as a batsman. As a bowler, he was a potent strike bowler with the big inswingers, and he was at you and he was quick. And his record suggests he was a fine bowler. Charismatic person, good captain, successful captain for Pakistan. Had a lot of respect. He had the package."

With three different formats and an increasingly packed calendar these days, Hadlee said the demands are so great that chances of a great allrounder emerging are slim. "The responsibility of the allrounder is to change the course of the match with an inspired performance either with bat or ball or with both. If you are doing both, you are going to help win games. And that would take its toll physically."

There was one exception to the trend, according to Hadlee. "Jacques Kallis is actually one of the few that has adapted to all formats of the game and survived. Remarkable. Statistically he is the greatest allrounder ever in the history of the game," he said, before adding that we won't be seeing the likes of Kallis soon. "There are some pretty handy allrounders but whether you are going to get the great allrounders back again, I think highly unlikely. Once Kallis goes, I don't think there is anyone else that can start matching up."

Hadlee himself suffered plenty of injuries during his career, and over the years he has needed a hip replacement and a left-knee replacement. He thinks the job has become tougher not just for allrounders but bowlers as a whole, especially if they play all three formats. "You really are going to have to do it all in a short period of time. If you last about ten years as a pace bowler particularly I think you've had a good career.

"The body breaks down. I think bowlers have to be very conscious, if they get stress fractures of the back or severe knee problems or ankle problems, that it could affect their life thereafter. So there's got to be a nice balance somewhere, as to how long you keep playing and how much you are prepared to suffer body-wise and whether you can get it fixed."

Richard Hadlee in thoughtful mood before the 2nd ODI, England v New Zealand, The Oval, May 25, 1990
"You think, 'Why should it happen to me?' [But] I'm no different from anyone else. I break down like a car will break down - sort of like not serviced" Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

With the right technique and fitness regime, injuries could be minimised, Hadlee said, but the challenge for him early in his career, in the days of amateur cricket, was the lack of proper guidance and facilities. He and other cricketers had to hold down a day job.

Hadlee worked as a sales manager. "You practised two nights a week with your local club side, where practice conditions and facilities were pretty average to poor. And then you play a club game on Saturday, you play something on a Sunday, and then you go back to work for five days. And then all of a sudden, out of club cricket you get picked to represent your province or zone or state, and we played five three-day games. That was our first-class season - five three-day games."

The system left players unprepared for the rigours and intensity of Test cricket. For Hadlee the first call-up came when he was just 22. "I have always said the first four years of my Test career, I didn't really know what I was doing. I didn't know what it was about… When you find that your fitness is not right, your technique is pretty wayward and inconsistent and you are getting poor results, then you start taking an analytical approach."

Till that difficult '76 tour of India - four years after his debut - Hadlee averaged 33.01, substantially more than what he ended his career with, 22.29. The transformation from a scattergun tearaway to one of the shrewdest bowlers to grace the game had just begun, and conversations with another legendary quick, Dennis Lillee, were pivotal.

"He was hugely influential. 'Dennis, how do you train, how do you prepare?' 'Well, I do all this running, I do the sprinting, I do the stretching. I do the bowling.' 'Oh, what do you eat?' You start looking at the dietary things. And all of a sudden you start learning and get this whole package together of what you need to be, in effect, [as] a professional sportsperson to compete and survive and perform in the international arena."

Hadlee was happy that today's bowlers get far more technical support to help ease the transition to the top flight. "Today the young players get all the support network around them, such as the academies, experts coming in, batting, bowling, fielding coaches, wicketkeeping coaches, physios, trainers, dieticians, mental-skills trainers, technicians on computers doing all this analytical work, giving you all this information. If I had that way back in the '70s, I might have been a better performer."

A chronic knee injury after nearly a decade of international cricket and the county treadmill led to more technical tweaks, perhaps the most significant of which was a shortened run-up. "It put less pressure on the body and technically I became more efficient by getting closer to the stumps, bowling wicket to wicket," he said. The pace was reduced and the focus was squarely on outwitting the batsman. "I got a lot tighter and [got] more finesse in my technique, and the skill factor improved considerably. In fact, I was three times more effective off the shorter run-up in the last ten years of my career than those first ten years."

It wasn't only physical problems that Hadlee had to overcome. In the early eighties, he was regularly demolishing Test sides, was a huge celebrity back home, and was well on his way to becoming an all-time great when he faced a battle with depression.

"For the previous six months [in 1983] I was up and down the country, saying yes to everybody, appear here, there and everywhere, a book-signing session, be at a training session, to play a charity game, that sort of thing. All of a sudden you get a bit of a heat stroke and you collapse, all of a sudden you get chest pains, headaches, you get home and think, 'What's wrong with me?'"

Hadlee became something of a recluse during his phase of depression. "The question was, 'Do you want to play cricket again?' And the answer at that time was 'No.'"

It was a struggle to cope with a condition that has started receiving major attention in cricketing circles only in recent years. "Firstly, if you have got a problem you have to acknowledge it, otherwise you are keeping it inside and there's this denial that you think 'Everything's all right', but in fact it's not all right.

"There's nothing wrong in admitting that you have depression or a low or a mental problem, by getting it out there, you can talk about it, you can try and work through a process to find solutions to those problems, get your focus and your health right, and get back on track."

It was especially difficult to deal with after having been at the top of his profession for several years. "Of course it was tough, because you think at times that you are invincible. You think, 'Why should it happen to me?' [But] I'm no different from anyone else, I can have any sort of health issue that anyone else can have. I break down like a car will break down - sort of like not serviced."

Hadlee said he became something of a recluse in that phase. "The question was, 'Do you want to play cricket again?' And the answer at that time was 'No.' Through that process [of working through the problem], all of a sudden you start thinking, 'Well, I've got to get out there and I've got to start training again', which means you have got to face the public and then all of a sudden you get out there, start training, start practising, then the world starts to come back, 'Yes, I want to play cricket again.' I have got to do all these other things if I want to play cricket, so you start from scratch, then all of a sudden you start getting the enthusiasm back, and I played for New Zealand that year when people thought that I wouldn't."

When England came visiting in 1983-84, Hadlee turned in another vintage performance at Lancaster Park, lashing an 81-ball 99 in a match where England were bowled out for under hundred in each innings. "That was the trigger and the catalyst to get back on track, and I had seven more years of international cricket, and those were probably my best." Hadlee went on to become the only cricketer to be knighted before retiring, New Zealand's greatest player, with a record-breaking magic moment in Bangalore along the way.

He now looks back on his wretched India tour in 1976 as one of the turning points of his career. His captain, Glenn Turner, said it was the series in which the 25-year-old Hadlee came of age, a comment that gave him a huge confidence boost.

He happily recounted his big moment in Bangalore. "I was stuck on 373 wickets and back home I had visualised getting Kris Srikkanth out to take the record. All along, I had visualised Srikkanth in a blue helmet, but when he came out to bat in a white helmet, it put me off. At the other end was Arun Lal, who I had not bowled to before, so it was a bit of a nervy start for me. Ian Smith, the wicketkeeper, told me to pitch the ball up and the 14th ball I did that and Lal obligingly edged to gully."

And his other big moment against India. "That was a major milestone in the history of world cricket, to get to 400 and that was special, and Bishan [Bedi] will remember the game did stop for a period of time and 400 roses were delivered. At the end of the day I enquired as to where those 400 roses were and I understand the Indian team had 396 of them and I ended up with about four."

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 22, 2013, 23:20 GMT)

Taking all the skills of a player into consideration - bowling, batting AND fielding, Kapil was the better allrounder among the quartet. Hadlee was the best bowler, followed by Imran, then Kapil and then Botham. Botham was the better batsman, followed by Kapil, then Imran and then Hadlee. Kapil was the best fielder by miles followed by Hadlee, then Botham and finally Imran never fielded. As we can see clearly, Kapil was by far the better allrounder among the quartet.

Posted by KingOwl on (August 21, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

It's funny that Indians are comparing Kapil Dev to Hadlee. Kapil was a good all rounder. But his bowling was not great by any means.

Posted by MichealT on (August 20, 2013, 19:12 GMT)

@Ramakrishnan Venkatsubramanian, I can understand your admiration for an Indian player but you are a little bias here. If you ask any Indian fan to pick 2 out of four 90% will pick Kapil and Imran. He is not only admired by Hadlee but even Botham and Kapil admired him by admitting these facts. These are the hallmark of great players and they are all great in this respect. I think you are marely talking on the basis of some stats and few videos but I have seen the career of all of them and watched them on the field. Imran retired at the peak of his career when his bowling was still effective and he was top of batting ranking. See the reviews of both players on cricketinfo. Remember Imran only played 88 Test in 21 Years. Imagine if he could have played the number of Test Sachin played during his peak what could he had achieved. During a recent Cricketinfo survey he was selected ahead of everyone and the panel selected Sobers ahead of Imran. Sober was not his contemporary.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

Kapil is truly the better bowler compared to hadlee . It is unfair to compare Hadlee 's 430 in 86 to Kapil 's 434 in 131 . The pitches at the time Kapil played were horrendous and explains the difference in their respective achievements.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

In a way Imran was forced to become a better batsman in the later half of his career as his bowling declined and he didnt want anyone to question his place in the side. However, even he would admit that he couldn't change the course of a match the way a Kapil Dev or Ian Botham could with the bat. These two could create mayhem in the opposition ranks. They hit the ball more sweetly than they delivered it!!! While Kapil was a natural and eye catching to watch, Botham was more the bully who could hit the ball real hard ala Dhoni. Imran the batsmen was usually more the steady type. Plus Kapil was a brilliant all round fielder. Remember his catch to dismiss Viv Richards in 1983 WCFinal. Botham was a slip specialist. Imran's and Hadlee's fielding are not worth a mention. All 4 had their pluses and minuses.

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (August 20, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

Its too bad he wasnt on the 90 tour to pakistan under Martin Crowe .... We were looking forward to c him.... Kiwis of the 80s had serious talent .... Martin Crowe would have been as a big a name as Richards too bad his knee problems robbed us of sublime batting... and Hadlee is Hadlee

Posted by Pathiyal on (August 20, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Fantastic piece to read about one of my most favorite cricketers! those days i didnt want to see anything less than a win for india, i was worried about richard hadlee :-) , ken rutherford and martin crowe (while india played nz) who used to trouble team india.

Posted by gbqdgj on (August 20, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

The difference between Botham and his contempories is that he played in sides that did not rely on his wickets and indeed had some pretty good attacks. His batting wasn't in the same class as Imran's but on a par with Kapil and Hadlee. The others however were actually their countries' only class bowlers at the time and hence why Botham took fewer wickets. As for the nonsense spouted by others here, Botham did not cut his teeth against 2nd 11 teams (I suggest you contact Messrs Holding, Lloyd, Richards, Chappell, Lillee etc and see how they like being called 2nd 11 players. I'd also point out to aarifboy, whilst Imran was the finest player from Pakistan of all time he was so far from being the greatest player (Bradman) or even the greatest all rounder (Sobers or even Bradman himself to be fair.)

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

As a young cricket fan growing up in those years when Sir Richard was active i always admired him and regarded him as one of the greats that I'd seen. He always struck me as being highly professional and I think if he had played more tests ( compare his 430 wkts in 86 tests to Kapil's 434 in 131 ) he would have had more wickets. I always remember his remarkable three tests series vs Australia when NZ won 1-0 ( in Aus ) and Sir Richard captured an amazing 33 wickets. You had a great career Sir Richard and i wish you all the best.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

Hadlee at his peak was a superb bowler. He did it to australia again and again.

Imran is the Keith Miller of the lot. just superb.

I have a lot of time for Botham, he was a match winner rather than a steady eddie. better batsman than Flintoff, who was just the better bowler I think.

we didn't really see much of Kapil out here but he was a real good bowler.

Sobers bowled too much, his strike rate is in the 90s. batsman beyond compare, however.

why is Graeme Watson off the list? :p

Posted by aarifboy on (August 20, 2013, 1:49 GMT)

Imran was fastest among four of them as a bowler and better as a batsman among four of them.Plus he was best captain out of four allrounders as well.Imran not only introduced reverse swing to world but prepared two masters of reverse swing Wasim and Waqar as well.Imran is actually best cricketer ever produced by game.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 1:11 GMT)

Imran is the greatest for me, not just amongst the 4 but the greatest ever, beating Sobers, Kallis, Miller and Gregory by lengths. For two thirds of his career Imran averaged 49 + with the bat, while taking 4.5 + wickets per test @ 23 or so with the ball, SIMULTANEOUSLY. Add to that his superb capataincy. However, to me, he looked arrogant, political and unscruplous. I would have loved to remember him with more affection, like I do Viswanath, Kapil, Brett Lee or Rahul Dravid. The greatest allrounder but not a good sportsperson like Federer or Nadal, who are both good and great. Also, he has admitted to ball tampering in his own book, while Kapil and Botham have both categorically denied having resorted to.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

@kamran wasti - I would agree imran was the best among 4. But it has to be really 1. imran, 2. had lee, 3. kapil, and 4. botham. I mean during this period it was WI that was the best team and botham was the only player that underperformed against them. The bowling average of the other 3 against WI compares well with the averages of some of the best bowlers. Botham's best period was upto 1980, but by then the best players were playing in World Series cricket. When they returned then his performances ended up being average.

Posted by Diaz54 on (August 19, 2013, 23:46 GMT)

Thanks Richard for your unbiased views. Some others could learn from. I had lot of respect for you during your playing days. Total professional and gentleman which we cannot say about some. Kapil to me brought Indian cricket to what it s now self belief. Badly treated by establishment. As far as Imran is concerned don't for get his Packer cricket least 140 wickets. Botham good but not in same class in my opinion....he established himself against 2 Nd eleven squads... Best bowling 8 for 28 when Wasin Bari opened the batting.....!! , seriously check it out!

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

As a little boy I clearly remember Sir Richard Haddlee widely being accepted as one of greatest bowlers to have ever played cricket.. He was a talismanic cricketer around whom much of New Zealand's success in 1980s was built.. Mind you they didn't lose a single home series in 1980s even to the West Indians. Truely an all-time legend of the game..

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

Hadlee was a legend without a shadow of a doubt. He took New Zealand to unbelievable heights and they owe a lot of their success to him. He was a superb bowler with a wide range of skills. Hadlee destroyed many batting line-ups in the 70s and 80s and is easily one of the greatest bowlers of all time. His honesty is admirable. He tells us how fast bowlers, even the greatest ones, can have weaknesses and problems. From this article, you learn that dedication, effort and hard-work can take you a long way; talent alone is not enough. I hope NZ can find another bowler like him someday. They really need another Hadlee right now!

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (August 19, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

@ Yasir Hasan, Actually Kallis the bowler is more talented and exciting; Kallis the batsman is rather a drab. But he prioritise batting over bowling hence the stats we have.

Posted by mautan on (August 19, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

@Kamran Wasti...even if Kapil had an average record in some places overseas, it does not mean that he would not have been effective. He would have adjusted far better if he had played more on those wickets. On some wickets like Perth (remember NZ in ODI, 1986) he used to be almost unplayable. Kapil would easily have taken 500 wickets if he had more support from wickets. Also as a batsman Imran stands out because he almost played as a batsman later in his career and had the luxury of concentrating as a batsman, which makes a lot of difference. Kapil kept bowling all the overs and still scored 10 hundreds..

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

great allrounder, I think Chris Cairns and Andrew Flintoff were excellent game changing allrounders too

Posted by Scrop on (August 19, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Truly a Legendary player.

I wish India can get him to coach the bowlers. The likes of Bhuvi, Yadhav, Sharma, Shami Ahmed, Aaron, Dinda would benefit a lot more by interacting with Hadlee.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

Awesome bowler.. we really lack the quality all rounders these days... Kallis is the only one that can be matched with all time greats, although bowling-wise he is not that great, but he compensates it with world class batting...

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

@ Ramakrishnan Venkatasubramanian - Kapil Dev played in England in his very first year playing all the tests. He had a very average record in England, averaging almost 40 with the ball. As for Botham, at his best, he was one of the leading bowlers in the world and was an extremely aggressive batsman. His only problem was that he kept playing well beyond his shelf life. As for all-rounders, Imran eclipsed them all in one-on-one contests. Against New Zealand he averaged 51 with the bat (Hadlee 42) and 28 with the ball (Hadlee 33) in the games they played together. Against India, 24 with the ball (Kapil Dev 33) and 52 with the bat (Kapil 29). Against England, 20 with the ball (Botham 36) and 50 with the bat (Botham 30). Winner hands down.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 14:24 GMT)

Richard Hadlee was without any doubt the best bowler among the 4. @MichaelT you may have by mistake mentioned that Imran played more as a batsman between 81-84 which is wrong. He was at his peak during this period as a bowler. He recorded his best bowling figures against Sri Lanka during this period. He also topped both the bowling and batting averages against England in 82 and took 40 wickets against India in 82-83 series. It was only after this series that injuries took its toll. In Kapil's defence two key things must be noted. First , he was the best fielder among the lot. He was the best natural athlete among the lot. Plus he was also the best ODI cricketer among the 4. We also need to add Wasim Akram's name among them too for he made his test debut in 1985, which means he played 7 years with Imran, 9 years with Kapil, 9 years with Botham and 8 years with Richard Hadlee, which surely makes him their contemporary.

Posted by MichealT on (August 19, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

There is no debate who is the best all rounder of them all. Stats doesn't speak the truth always but the peoples who actually watched all of them are a better judge. As Hadlee said, of the four greatest allrounders who played at the same time, Imran was clearly the best. He started in 1971 but but lost several golden. years due to saveral reasons . Hadless was awesome bowler and Kapil and Botham were great batsman but Imran was different. Yes, He was a complete package as a player, a very quick fast and accurate bowler with all the technique and a batsman who can play all sort of inning. He actually played 3 years from 1981-1984 as a batsman when he was out due to his leg injury. But the thing which actually makes him best among the rest was his personality and chrisma and his captainship. Only Mike Bearley of England and Clive LLoyd of West Indies can compete with Imran in this respect.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 19, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

In the later half of his career, Hadlee became more of a medium pace bowler of guile verging on fast medium on occasions due to his physical health issues. Still, he was highly successful because he worked out batsmen better than most out and out fast bowlers including the WI pacemen. He would have been an instant success if he played in T20s today. Hope NZ board will encourage and provide necessary infrastructure, training and financial security to produce more fast bowlers. After all, fast bowlers were the cornerstone of most of their famous victories in the past.

Posted by MeijiMura on (August 19, 2013, 13:02 GMT)

You can't have a discussion about all-rounders in world cricket without mentioning Sir Garfield Sobers. His record speaks for itself, 8032 runs at 57.78 and 235 wickets at 34.03 in Test Cricket. Outside of Bradman that's as good as it gets over such a long career, 93 Test Matches, and to think he took 235 wickets on top of making all those runs. He was a truly great cricketer!

Posted by coherent_critic on (August 19, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

It is very difficuilt to select anyone frome these greats. .. HADLEE-probably the best bowler among these..he was the one around which New Zealand team built around..his batting was slightly weak but improved in his later career IMRAN-at his peak was among the best bowlers..his bowling declined but improved his batting tremendously..he was the only one among these grats who was at one time among the best in both batting and bowling departments..and he was without doubt one of the best captain this game ever produced BOTHAM-he also at his peak was among the best with both bat and ball..on talent alone he was the best but his problem was his inconsistency..had he been more consistent he would have been best KAPIL-he was more consistent throughout his career..he performed everywhere whether conditions helped or not..he was the strike bowler for India throghout his career..he was also very good batsman and had won for India many matches with his batting abilities alone..

Posted by waitara on (August 19, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

Simply one of the greatest ever cricketers and the greatest one that little old NZ has produced. The '76 tour of Pak and India was the first I followed. Didn't Hadlee break a stump after the not out incident (umpire said the wind blew the bail off)? Will never forget his 99, and I thought my mates were having me on when Hadlee took 9 wickets in an innings in Australia.

Posted by calcu on (August 19, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

Richard hadlee is the best all rounder ever in test cricket history.

Posted by Romanticstud on (August 19, 2013, 11:06 GMT)

@Beez ... Clive Rice was also a captain ... He won and lost games because of his attitude to win at all costs ... Sometimes he would declare behind just to give his bowlers an opportunity to bowl at the opposition so they could chase quick runs in the fourth innings ... Another scenario with Graeme Pollock in the side was to bat the opposition out of the game (if time permitted) ... Back to Richard Hadlee ... He was primarily a bowler and having "wasted" 4 years he was maybe 100+ wickets shy of what he was capable of ... He would have held the record until the spin of Warne and Murali took the bowling stats and made mincemeat of them.

Posted by gsingh7 on (August 19, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

@muneeb zaman-- kapil broke world record of 434 wickets and was first international captain to halt great wi captain in 1983 . also his 175 runs in wc1983 when india were 14/4 against zimbabwe was turning point in the world cup history. he was finest bowler , batsman , captain combined in in one that emerged from cricketing world in the subcontinent.

Posted by EdwinD on (August 19, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

There will always be huge debate about who was the best all-rounder - Beez mentions Clive Rice, but omits Mike Proctor! If you're going to judge between Hadlee/Botham/Imran/Kapil/Kallis I would use a benchmark of their relative performances against the best team around during their career so the West Indies for the 80's players, Australia for Kallis. Here are relative stats:

Botham: 20 matches, 792 runs @ 21.40, 61 wkts @ 35.18 Kapil Dev: 25 matches, 1079 runs @ 30.82 89 wkts @ 24.89 Hadlee: 10 matches, 389 runs @ 32.41 51 wkts @ 22.03 Imran: 18 matches, 775 runs @ 27.67, 80 wkts @ 21.18 Kallis: 29 matches, 2061 @ 41.22, 51 wkts @ 37.56

Of course stats don't tell the whole story - for example Hadlee and Kapil pretty much carried their bowling attack, and played in weaker sides....Kallis' has a far superior fielding record and for the vast percentage of his career played in all formats of the game...

It's a debate that will run and run.....

Posted by DesPlatt on (August 19, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

Wonderful cricketer. I'm glad to see more cricketers getting the subject of depression out into the open . So many people are suffererers at some time in their lives. When you are a sufferer yourself, you can often spot it in others and it was always clear to me that Steve Harmison's "homesickness" was a euphemism for depression. Attitudes are much better informed now and the " snap out of it " reaction is being consigned to the dinosaurs but there are still people around who will say " How can you be depressed on £350000 per year ?" Depression is no respecter of talent or circumstance and has to be brought into the open with people have the genuine interests of the sufferer at heart ; it is an illness which thrives when the sufferer keeps it to himself.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

bowling averages of the 4 r wic/inn Imran 362/142 at 22.81 Kapil 434/227 at 29.64 Hadlee 431/150 at 22.29 Botham 383/168 at 28.40 Batting avg r Imran=37.69 Kapil=31.05 Hadlee=27.16 Botham=33.54 u decide yourself whose the best all rounder --- I agree, @Muneb Zaman, obviously Imran was the best, Hadlee no 2, Botham 3, and Kapil 4th but also great.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

@Ramakrishnan Venkatsubramanian. agree with you. Kapil was the most natural among the 4. While I don't know whether he would have ended up with 100 more wickets if he had played for a country with seamer friendly tracks, what I do know and am sure most would agree is the fact that he ended up at least 2000 runs lesser than what he might have scored. He wasted his fabulous batting talent. May be deep in his heart he always thought of himself as a bowler. Perhaps the heavy workload of bowling and captaincy wouldn't let him focus on his batting. I still remember the great Imran once publicly criticizing (positive way) Kapil for not fulfiling his enormous potential as a batsman.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

bowling averages of the 4 r wic/inn Imran 362/142 at 22.81 Kapil 434/227 at 29.64 Hadlee 431/150 at 22.29 Botham 383/168 at 28.40 Batting avg r Imran=37.69 Kapil=31.05 Hadlee=27.16 Botham=33.54 u decide yourself whose the best all rounder

and those who say Kapil dev didnt play for records in his last 33 innings he took 31 wickets at 35.75 just to break hadlee's record but Indians still love him because he was thier finest cricketer and I respect thier feelings

Posted by Beez on (August 19, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

The best all rounder of that period, in my opinion, never played test cricket. Clive Rice. All of those that actually played against him would attest to his class. Most of all, to me, was his never say die attitude. I was never his greatest fan, but I can acknowledge how good he was. For the record his first class record is - 26331 runs at 40.95 and 930 wickets at 22.49

Posted by smalishah84 on (August 19, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

Richard Hadlee one of the greatest cricketers ever to grace the field of cricket. Single handedly put NZ cricket on the world stage and for others to take notice. The best bowler from among Imran, Botham, Kapil and himself. An absolute legend and somebody we wish we could have seen more of. Take a bow sir.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (August 19, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

@ Syyed Aatif Khan, Imran himself declared that he was breaking the grip of the ball in order to swing the ball, and that is the main cause he got all those wickets, and now you call him the best all-rounder? What a joke. Hilarious! Ha...Ha...Ha...Ha...Ha...

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (August 19, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

Kapil actually did better in India than outside India. Kapil averaged lower with the bat than Botham did, although Botham's batting probably fell away a lot more than Kapil's did.

It's hard to know how to compare the 4 of them. Hadlee or Imran were probably the best bowlers at peak, after injuries Imran probably wasn't as good. Imran's batting became the best of them. At his peak Botham was the best batsman and up with the best as a bowler but he dropped off a long way. Imran was behind Botham and Imran as a batsman and not quite as good a bower overall as the other 3 but great stamina and kept his standard reasonably. All extremely good players Hadlee averaged over 30 with the bat from the start of the 80s onwards (31.23 from 60 tests), Botham averaged just under 30 from his last 50 tests.

Posted by landl47 on (August 19, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

Hadlee was a very good bowler when he was a tearaway quickie, but became great when he slowed down a bit (not much, he was still pretty quick) and got batsmen out with strategy rather than raw pace.

All the 4 great all-rounders of the 70s and 80s had their strengths, but my assessment is the same as Hadlee's. The only one of the 4 I would have in my best XI I have ever seen would be Imran and he would be captain.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

good to see the Great Richard Hadlee himself considers Imran Khan as the best all-rounder.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (August 19, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

one of the greatest bowler. I was shocked once when i see his stats in deep. Great fast bowler

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