Hedley Howarth dies at 64

Hedley Howarth, who was New Zealand's leading slow bowler during the early 1970s and a key man in their first Test win on the subcontinent, has died at the age of 64. Howarth, the elder brother of the former New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth, collected 86 wickets at 36.95 in his 30 Test appearances.

A left-arm orthodox bowler, Howarth occupies a significant place in New Zealand's history as the man who bowled them to victory against India in Nagpur in 1969-70. India were chasing 277 in the fourth innings but Howarth's 5 for 34, including a wonderful catch off his own bowling, ensured the hosts never got close.

New Zealand's 167-run win was their first Test success on the subcontinent. It was also in that part of the world that Howarth collected his only other five-wicket haul in a Test, when he picked up 5 for 80 against Pakistan in Karachi.

Howarth's control and flight made him a useful prospect at international level and he was often used in long spells to dry up the scoring. A dangerous bowler on the first-class scene, Howarth picked up 541 wickets at 25.27 in an Auckland career that lasted nearly two decades.

Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, said Howarth would be remembered as an important player during a positive era for New Zealand. "Hedley was part of a Test era in the early '70s that saw New Zealand performing consistently on the world stage," Vaughan said.

"His bowling was a big factor in that success. He remained closely involved in the game after his retirement - especially in Auckland - and his loss will be keenly felt by the cricketing community throughout New Zealand."