Sir Richard Hadlee is not just a name in New Zealand Cricket history, he signifies an era of greatness. Regarded as one of the greatest players to have played the game of cricket, Hadlee bid adieu to Test cricket on July 10, 1990. In his career spanning nearly 2 decades, Hadlee carried the New Zealand’s bowling on his shoulder and gave many match-winning performances for the Black Caps.
Even in the last match of his international cricket at the age of 39, there was not any trace of rust in his bowling. Hadlee was still effective, and he managed to pick up 8 wickets in his last match showing what champion players are made of.
Born to former New Zealand cricketer Walter Hadlee, he grew up around the game and it was almost inevitable that he would choose Cricket as his career. He made his debut against Pakistan in 1973 but his first moment of glory came against Indian in 1976 when he delivered a spell of 7/23.
Headlee never looked back since then. In his illustrious career, the New Zealander troubled every team but neighbours Australia were his favourite target. He picked 130 wickets in 23 matches that he played against the Aussie.
The original Sultan of Swing- Hadlee became the first bowler to cross over the mark of 400 wickets in Test cricket. He finished off his 86 match Test career as the all-time leading wicket-taker with 431 wickets. A record which was later broken by India’s Kapil Dev. Hadlee picked 36 fifers and 10 ten-wicket hauls in his career.
And not just bowling, Hadlee was also effective with the bat and was considered as one of the best all-rounders of the era. He scored 3,124 runs along with 2 centuries and 15 half-centuries.
Hadlee was honoured with knighthood shortly after his retirement from the game and he was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in the year 2009.