‘Tendulkar is the greatest’ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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‘Tendulkar is the greatest’

Sir Richard Hadlee officially became New Zealand’s first entrant to the ICC’s Hall of Fame on Friday. Almost as soon as he was honoured he took the spotlight off himself and transferred it to another giant of the game, calling Sachin Tendulkar “arguably the greatest player in the history of the game", reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Apr 03, 2009 23:33 IST
Anand Vasu

The man who was once nicknamed “Paddles” for his unusually large feet and who now answers to Sir Richard officially became New Zealand’s first entrant to the ICC’s Hall of Fame. Almost as soon as he was honoured Sir Richard Hadlee took the spotlight off himself and transferred it to another giant of the game, calling Sachin Tendulkar “arguably the greatest player in the history of the game.”

“I played against Sachin on his tour in New Zealand in 1990 when he got that 80 or 90-odd at McLean Park in Napier. You could see then, as a youngster, he was a player of immense ability and talent,” began Hadlee. “But you can’t visualise what a player is likely to do in the context of the history of the game 20 years down the track.”

“When you score as many runs as he has in Test and one-day cricket and score as many centuries and half centuries as he has done, it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game,” said Hadlee, himself known to place a strong weightage on records. “Statistics speak volumes of his contribution.”

Even when he was pressed, suggesting that Sir Don Bradman is traditionally regarded as the greatest ever, Hadlee appeared to stick to his guns. “Well Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest batsman ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn’t played any other forms of the game,” said Hadlee. “But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game in different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don’s is in itself incredible.”

Widely regarded as one of the finest all-rounders, Hadlee (431 wickets and 3124 runs in Tests) said he wanted to be remembered “as somebody who played hard in a very successful era for New Zealand cricket.”

When asked to pick out his favourite memory Hadlee did not have to think twice before choosing the Brisbane Test against Australia in 1986-86. “As sports people we strive for perfection and the closest I could get to that was against the Australians,” explained Hadlee. “We’d never won in Australia before and to do so by an innings and 41 runs and to make a personal contribution of nine wickets in the first innings (he had a hand in the 10th dismissal as a catcher) and six in the second and scored a few runs (54)… you can’t better than really.”