Richard Hadlee’s the Best Bowling of All Time

New Zealand cricket legend Richard Hadlee has claimed top spot in ESPNcricinfo’s ‘Top 25 Bowling Performances of All Time’.

ESPNcricinfo blogger Anantha Narayanan provides a table current up to the West Indies-Sri Lanka St Lucia Test (Test No 2308).

“The few readers who responded to my query about how to present the ratings preferred a straightforward, non-grouped method, so that’s how I’m presenting it – as a table of the top 25 bowling performances. I call it ‘The Red Cherry 25’,” Narayanan writes.

“The opening-day masterclass of Richard Hadlee, who took 9 for 52 against a strong Australian side in 1985-86, and away from home at that, gets the coveted top position in the Bowling Performance ratings. This performance has moved up a few positions from the last time around.

“First-innings bowling performances were short-changed in the first release of the Wisden 100, and I must accept responsibility for the same. At that time, determining what constitutes a good score in the first innings was difficult to pin down because the algorithm was not comprehensive. Since then I have significantly improved that aspect and now performances across all four innings are treated fairly. This explains the elevation of a few world-class opening-day efforts, including Hadlee’s at the Gabba.

“In his 9 for 52, Hadlee dismissed Andrew Hilditch for 0, Allan Border for 1, Greg Ritchie for 8 and Greg Matthews for 2. He also got rid of each of the three batsmen who went past 30 just when they looked like taking Australia out of trouble.

“The Pitch Quality Index for this match was 55.5, indicating that this pitch was tilted very slightly towards the batsmen. (A quick refresher on PQI: the values run from 1 to 100; 1 indicates a crater-on-the-moon surface, and 100 represents an ultra-smooth highway; 50 would represent a fair, middling pitch that offers assistance to both bowlers and batsmen.) This was proved by the second- and third-innings scores in this match (553 for 7 declared, and 333). Australia was not a very strong team, but this was an away match in a country where New Zealand had not tasted much success.

“Hadlee was recently diagnosed with bowel cancer and has had successful surgery for the same. I take this opportunity to wish this giant of a bowler a complete recovery and peaceful life ahead. I also hope that this recognition of his all-time-classic effort will be a tonic for him.”

Hadlee, 67, was appointed MBE in 1980 and knighted in 1990 for services to cricket.

He was born in Christchurch.

Original article by Anantha Narayanan, ESPN, July 1, 2018.


Tags: ESPNcricinfo  Richard Hadlee