He is New Zealand’s biggest cricketing legend. Sir Richard Hadlee, now constructing a five-lane indoor facility at the Hagley Oval and seeking funds for it, believes cricket is a bowler’s game. “A bowler dictates play, controls the game.”
Here are the excerpts from an exclusive chat with the Sultan of seam and swing.
The ODI World Cup final was decided in a way that left several cricket fans angry.
No side lost. To bring it back to boundaries was very unfair to a team batting first. The side batting second knew they would be better placed if they scored more boundaries in the event of the tie. We could have another Super Over or the trophy could have been shared.
Your views on Jasprit Bumrah.
He’s very unusual and unorthodox. He has a short run-up, or is it a run-up at all? He just walks across, a stutter and the last four or five paces. He is a muscle bowler, a power bowler, moves the ball.
New Zealand has a golden pair in Tim Southee and Trent Boult...
When one of them doesn’t play the New Zealand bowling line-up looks different. There is a little competition between them. One is right and the other is a left-armer. Different angles, swing.
Kyle Jamieson, 6ft 8in, has added another dimension to the Kiwi attack.
We had a very tall bowler in the '50s but subsequently, we have not had such a bowler. He (Jamieson) gets bounce, bowls the off-stump line. He is our great find of the summer.
Do you feel Virat Kohli has a weakness in these conditions?
Southee is Kohli’s weakness, he’s got him out many times with swing. Against Southee, he is planting his front foot forward, not fully so, and if the ball does something, he’s in trouble. If the ball moves away, he gets caught behind, if it nips back he is leg-before.
Which batsman from this era would challenge you the most?
Steve Smith. He’s unorthodox. He stands on the leg-stump and by the time you deliver, he moves to middle and off. And if you are a bit wide, he lets you go. If you are closer to the stumps, he whips you through mid-wicket. Early on, you should bowl at his off-stump. If he misses, he can be leg-before.
The most impressive contemporary paceman?
(Josh) Hazlewood. I love his simplicity. He is tall, he runs in straight, good action and he is hitting the stumps. Line and length, good pace and good variations.
Your thoughts on DRS?
You should take it away from the players. It should be in the hands of the third umpire. If he spots something, he should inform the standing umpires and the decision can be reviewed. I don’t want the players to challenge the decision.
Hardest batsman to bowl to in your time.
Geoff Boycott. He was the hardest to dismiss. He only played when he had to. Left a lot outside off. The others like Viv Richards and Greg Chappell gave you a chance.
What do you make of the day-night Tests?
Day-night Test adds another dimension to Test cricket. But the pink ball moves a lot under lights giving one side a massive advantage in the last session. It’s not a good thing.
Do you believe Test cricket is under threat?
Test cricket has to be protected by the administrators. It is the foundation of the game. Once you lose Test cricket, you will not get it back. Twenty20 is not real cricket.
Some cricketers, despite so much money in the game, still indulge in spot and match-fixing.
There is temptation. Players are offered life-changing amounts. Do the right thing. Do not lose your reputation, you won't get it back.
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