Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary New Zealand pace bowler Sir Richard Hadlee believes that Tim Southee and Trent Boult are New Zealand’s “best ever new-ball combination”.
Hadlee also believes that this is the strongest side New Zealand have ever had in a World Cup.
“I think particularly with Southee and Boult, it’s our best ever new-ball combination in our history,” Hadlee said. “The way those two bowlers complement each other, with the left and right arm and their various swing skills, they’re wicket-taking bowlers. They’ve proved that successfully, particularly over the last 12 months.
“It’s fair to say that they’ve come of age. They’re at the top of their game at the moment. And they’re young, they’re going to be around a long time. That’s good for New Zealand, because you’ve got to bowl sides out in all forms of the game, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Like most of the players in the New Zealand squad, Hadlee cannot wait until the Blackcaps take on Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
“Australia came out here in ’82, we had 44,000 at Eden Park,” Hadlee said. “I think it will still be the biggest ever crowd in the history of New Zealand cricket. We might near match that on Saturday. We’re starting to replicate what went on many, many years ago.
“What they’re doing now, the way they’re playing, the fact the country has got in behind them … They’ve had three very good wins. They’re in a very good position on the table at the moment. Another win or a rained out game and you get to seven points and you’re in a quarter-final. I think these lads are probably the best ever one-day side that we’ve put together in a World Cup competition.”
Hadlee also praised McCullum’s captaincy and believes that he could be the person to break New Zealand’s semi-final jinx.
“The way that he’s captained the side has been inspirational,” Hadlee said. “The way that he fields and leads the side in the field, he puts his body on the line, and his batting ability as well, if he can put all three things together, the other players will follow that.
“There’s probably four or five match-winners in our side, either with the ball or the bat or being an allrounder. This is probably one of the best balanced sides that we have had. The selectors have got an interesting problem in picking the XI out of the 15, because they’re all good enough to play.”
Hadlee also believes that Australia and New Zealand should face each other on a more regular basis.
“I’d like to think we should be playing a lot more, particularly contesting in 50-over cricket or even T20 cricket, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy,” Hadlee said. “I think it’s a nice thing to have and for the players to play for…There’s a lot of rivalry between the two countries. At the end of the day we do love each other. We do have close relations with the economy and those sorts of things, but on the sporting field it’s a bit different.”
When asked who will be favourites to win the match on Saturday, Hadlee said: “Australia. I’m not putting pressure on our boys at all.”