Richard Hadlee

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Richard Hadlee : biography

3 July 1951 –

His economical action was notable for his close approach to the wicket at the bowler’s end (to the point where he occasionally knocked the bails off in his approach), a line which meant he was able to trap many batsmen leg before wicket. He broke the Test-wicket taking record with his 374th wicket on 12 November 1988. His 400th Test wicket was claimed on 4 February 1990, and with his last Test delivery, on 9 July 1990, he dismissed Devon Malcolm for a duck.

The Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Trust

In August 1990, Hadlee established The Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Trust. It was opened to help sportsmen and women who were in situations of hardship to strive for success in their chosen sporting or cultural discipline. The criteria for the Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Trust are: the applicant must be under the age of 25, the applicant must be from the region of Canterbury New Zealand, the request for assistance is specifically for sporting or cultural purposes and applicant is disadvantaged, facing hardship or has special circumstances which prevent him or her from pursuing his or her sporting or cultural endeavors. The Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Trust relies on the generosity of the community, as well as its corporate sponsors; CTV, Lion Nathan, Newstalk ZB, Pernod Ricard, Pope Print, PR South and Vbase.

Nottinghamshire career

For Nottinghamshire, on often overgrassed Trent Bridge pitches, he gained some analyses that are remarkable in an era of covered pitches, notably his eight for 22 against Surrey in 1984. He represented Nottinghamshire between 1978 and 1987, but played only three full seasons due to injuries and Test calls. However, his bowling figures for those three seasons were quite remarkable:

  • 1981: 4252 balls, 231 maidens, 1564 runs, 105 wickets for 14.89 each.
  • 1984: 4634 balls, 248 maidens, 1645 runs, 117 wickets for 14.05 each.
  • 1987: 3408 balls, 186 maidens, 1154 runs, 97 wickets for 11.89 each (the lowest average since 1969).

In those three seasons he was voted the PCA Player of the Year by his peers of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA). He won The Cricket Society Wetherall Award for the Leading All-Rounder in English First-Class Cricket in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987.

In the 1984 county season, Hadlee completed a feat rare in the modern age by doing the county ‘double’ – scoring 1000 runs and taking 100 wickets in the same season. Hadlee, and his immediate successor at Nottinghamshire Franklyn Stephenson, are the only two players to achieve this feat in English county cricket since the number of county games per season was reduced in 1969. The runs component of the double included Hadlee’s highest first class score, 210* in a victory over Middlesex at Lord’s. In 1987, his swan song, he narrowly missed the double as Nottinghamshire won the County Championship as they had in 1981. Hadlee’s contribution with ball and bat to both and their other triumphs was immense. They next won the championship in 2005 with fellow Kiwi Stephen Fleming in charge.

Test career

A bowling all-rounder, in an 86-Test career he took 431 wickets (at the time the world record), and was the first bowler to pass 400 wickets, with an average of 22.29, and made 3124 Test runs at 27.16, including two centuries and 15 fifties.

Hadlee is rated by many experts as the greatest exponent of bowling with the new ball. He was the master of (conventional) swing and was the original Sultan of Swing. Along with Malcolm Marshall, Hadlee was seen as one of the finest fast bowlers of his time, despite the contemporaneous presence of Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Kapil Dev and Wasim Akram among others.

As one of the four top all rounders of his time, the others being Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Ian Botham, Hadlee was possibly the best bowler of them all, however his batting was generally considered the weakest of the group.

Born in Christchurch, Hadlee made his first class debut for Canterbury in 1971/72 and his test match debut in 1973 – on both occasions, his first delivery was dispatched to the boundary. Hadlee was an inconsistent performer at test level for several years; however a breakthrough performance against India in 1976 in which he took 11 wickets in a game resulting in a win by New Zealand cemented his place in the side. In 1978, Hadlee helped New Zealand to a historic first win over England by taking 6 for 26 in England’s second innings, bowling the visitors out for 64 chasing a target of 137.