‘Unless we get more Test cricket at home and away, particularly away, we are not going to get any better’, says Richard Hadlee

Image courtesy of: The Hindu

“Give us five years, I think we will be knocking over sides quite regularly”

Former New Zealand captain Richard Hadlee has announced that he believes the national team will not progress any further in Test cricket “unless we get more Test cricket at home and away”.

With New Zealand having won just three Test matches against higher-ranked opposition in the past five years and played only one Test series away from home with more than two Test matches in that same period of time, Hadlee noted that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have to organise more Test series that consist of more than two Tests.

“Our Test cricket is of great concern right now. We are rated, I think, at No 9 [New Zealand are No 8] which is our lowest ever ranking in Test cricket,” Hadlee said. “What doesn’t help us is when we travel overseas to play Test series, we invariably get a one-off Test or two-match Test series… Unless we get more Test cricket at home and away, particularly away, we are not going to get any better. Particularly the specialist Test players who want to play but are denied that opportunity.”

Hadlee added that New Zealand had gained a reputation of being a joke in the Test arena and many countries are not interested in inviting them for a Test series since they will not make as much revenue compared to when they host higher-ranked sides like India, South Africa or England.

“It appears our value to other countries is not significant enough to keep us long enough in their country to make decent money,” he said. “I think there should be some commitment to honour future tour programmes.”

However, Hadlee stated that New Zealand “will be knocking over sides quite regularly” within the next five years due to their new breed of pace bowlers.

“Very inexperienced, very young,” he said when asked about New Zealand’s pace bowlers. “[Trent] Boult can swing it both ways, [Tim] Southee is really coming on, [Neil] Wagner is a good trier and there are a couple of good seamers in the background. Give us five years, I think we will be knocking over sides quite regularly, provided we score enough runs.”

Speaking about former opening batsman Bruce Edgar landing the role of general manager of national selection, Hadlee said: “It’s nice to get some of our former cricketers back on the block. Stephen Boock, who was a left-arm spinner, is the president of New Zealand Cricket. So, that’s good. You will find on the board, one or two former players who want to be involved. When you’ve got cricket people involved, you can make cricket decisions.”

During his hour-long chat with the press, Hadlee also touched on the subject of match-fixing and had a slightly different view to that of legendary India batsman Rahul Dravid, who said that match-fixing should be made a criminal offence, on the punishment that should be handed down to players caught dabbling in the trade.

“It’s a shame that it goes on and it has to be stamped out very quickly and people have to be made examples of and clearly banned, even take it a step further, even have their records erased for life in the game,” Hadlee said. “I think the most severe penalty that can happen – even more than going to jail – is to have your record erased from the game.”

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