Sir Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Sir Ian Botham were the top four cricket all-rounders of the 1980’s and early 90’s. They are all inductees into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. New Zealand’s ‘Paddles’ Hadlee is considered one of the great fast bowlers of all time. The 2002 edition of Wisden listed him as the second great test bowler in the history of the game. ESPN named him as the 12th Best Cricketer of all time in its Legends of Cricket selection.
Playing for the Black Caps from 1988-1994, his right-arm bowling was initially extremely fast, with devastating control. Over time his pace reduced but he gained more accuracy and movement off the wicket. The master of conventional ‘swing’ batting, he was the original ‘Sultan of Swing’, with his most potent delivery the unplayable outswinger. He was the first player to take 400 Test Wickets and after 86 Matches, ended his career with 431 at an average of 22.29. He scored 3,124 test runs, with two centuries including 151 not out. He was Knighted in 1990.
Kapil Dev replaced Sir Richard’s wicket-taking World Record in early 1994 and was Wisden’s Indian Cricketer of the Century (2002). Known for his grace and pace (involving a majestic leap at the crease) his right-arm outswinger and a potent inswinging yorker enabled him to take 434 test wickets before he retired in 1994. A naturally aggressive batsman, he scored more than 5000 runs in test matches and in ODIs and captained India to the 1983 World Cup Championship, beating the mighty West Indies who were looking for a hat trick of titles at Lords.
‘Paddles’ signed 15 limited edition prints as part of a set of New Zealand’s Best Cricket XI at his home in Christchurch in the mid 1990’s. They were sold for various charities. The caricature was signed at a sporting function in Invercargill in 1989. Kapil Dev signed his caricature on his final visit to New Zealand in 1994 during India’s one-off Test in Hamilton.
Tomorrow: Part 2, Khan and Botham