Sir Richard Hadlee, one of the greatest fast bowlers to have played the game, heaped praise on England spearhead Stuart Broad, after he finished as his team’s leading wicket-taker in the drawn Ashes series.
Broad, who grew up watching and idolising Sir Hadlee, had late last year sought advice from the New Zealand great on improving his action and longevity. Based on the legend’s response, Broad made some tweaks, which worked for him.
Although he found himself on the periphery during England’s away Tests in Sri Lanka – where he went wicketless in the only Test he played – and the West Indies earlier this year, he was on song in the home season, picking up 30 wickets from six Tests. He took 23 wickets in the Ashes, proving to be a nemesis to David Warner, whom he accounted for seven times.
Sir Hadlee played down his own impact in this revival, even as he lauded Broad for consistency. “I can’t take any credit because advice is advice, and you’ve still got to get out there and adapt and perform. He’s absolutely done that,” the New Zealander said.
“To see him mature and develop and perform the way that he has … he’s on the verge of greatness. He’s passed all the wickets that I got and the bowling combination with Jimmy Anderson makes them categorically the most successful new ball attack in the history of the game. It’s an extraordinary performance,” he said.
“He’s a professional cricketer who’s done wonders for England and served his country well. I wouldn’t deny anyone success. If you’re good enough to defeat your opponent, then fair play, and we [New Zealand] have to be good enough to handle him [in November] ,” Sir Hadlee added.