Hadlee wants more Tests for New Zealand
New Zealand have just three Test wins against the top eight nations in the last five years, and Richard Hadlee, their former allrounder, doesn't think that record will improve unless the side gets to play more five-day matches. During those years New Zealand have had just one away series with more than two Tests, something which Hadlee thinks is affecting their progress.
"Our Test cricket is of great concern right now. We are rated, I think, at No 9 [New Zealand are No 8] which is our lowest ever ranking in Test cricket." Hadlee said in Bangalore. "What doesn't help us is when we travel overseas to play Test series, we invariably get a one-off Test or two-match Test series… Unless we get more Test cricket at home and away, particularly away, we are not going to get any better. Particularly the specialist Test players who want to play but are denied that opportunity."
Hadlee said the perception in other countries that New Zealand are not box-office material was hurting the team. "It appears our value to other countries is not significant enough to keep us long enough in their country to make decent money. I think there should be some commitment to honour future tour programmes."
What heartened Hadlee about New Zealand's Test prospects was the crop of emerging quick bowlers in the country. "Very inexperienced, very young. [Trent] Boult can swing it both ways, [Tim] Southee is really coming on, [Neil] Wagner is a good trier and there are a couple of good seamers in the background. Give us five years, I think we will be knocking over sides quite regularly, provided we score enough runs."
New Zealand have recently overhauled their selection process with former Australia coach John Buchanan and former Australia lawn bowls administrator Kim Littlejohn moving out. Earlier this week former New Zealand opener Bruce Edgar was named the country's general manager of national selection. "It's nice to get some of our former cricketers back on the block," said Hadlee, who was on the panel that interviewed Edgar. "Stephen Boock, who was a left-arm spinner, is the president of New Zealand Cricket. So, that's good. You will find on the board, one or two former players who want to be involved. When you've got cricket people involved, you can make cricket decisions."
Over a nearly hour-long chat with journalists Hadlee reminisced about his career, and gave his views on many of the challenges facing the game today, including the problem of fixing. Rahul Dravid, in an interview to ESPNcricinfo earlier this month, had called for fixing to be made a criminal offence, but Hadlee proposed a different solution.
"It's a shame that it goes on and it has to be stamped out very quickly and people have to be made examples of and clearly banned, even take it a step further, even have their records erased for life in the game," Hadlee said. "I think the most severe penalty that can happen - even more than going to jail - is to have your record erased from the game."
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo