Mumbai: Sir Richard Hadlee was the first to break the 400-wicket barrier in Test cricket and set the benchmark for others with a haul of 431 wickets in 86 Tests.
His contemporary, Kapil Dev (434) eventually broke his record while other top all-rounder at that time Ian Botham and Imran Khan finished their Test carriers at 383 and 362 wickets respectively.
“We had a fierce competition. Those days we used to follow each other's performances through newspapers or radio reports. I broke Botham's record in India and later completed my 400th scalp in Sanjay Manjrekar. I also have fond memories of Wankhede stadium where we won the Test,” said the former Kiwi all-rounder who was here as Special Ambassador to promote South Island of New Zealand.
“I would say Imran had an edge over Kapil and Botham as the Pakistani was a versatile batsman and was a potent strike bowler who could swing at good pace early on and later get it reverse,” he said.
Hadlee said the same competition is on in current era among the batting quartet of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steven Smith and Kane Williamson. “Those four players are outstanding batsmen and it’s a joy to watch them bat. However, I feel AB de Villiers is the No.1 in the world today in all formats,” he said.
Hadlee likened England pacer Jamaes Anderson’s career to his own for flourishing late into the career. “Anderson does swings it both ways and has good control. He has over 400 Test wickets now and his average is coming down. He is probably more effective now than his initial phase of his career. I cut down my run-up despite the criticism to avoid injuries and it actually helped me to improve as a bowler. My results were thrice better than before,” he added.
The Kiwi legend also predicted that Williamson will break all New Zealand batting records and will prove right successor to Brendon McCullum. “He without doubt will be our best ever batsman. Captaincy or not, he is going to do some wonderful things in the game and players will enjoy playing under him and what we can see at early stages, he is in control,” he said....