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Imran was the best: Hadlee

Ashwin Achal
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Richard Hadlee. —Photo : K. Bhagya Prakash
The Hindu Richard Hadlee. —Photo : K. Bhagya Prakash

Nearly 25 years ago, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here, Richard Hadlee dismissed Arun Lal to break Ian Botham's world record for most Test wickets.

Now back in the city as part of KSCA's platinum jubilee celebrations, the Kiwi legend recalls the occasion at a venue which holds a “special place” in his heart. In an interaction with select media houses, Hadlee spoke on his competition with the other all-rounders in his era, the menace of spot-fixing, and more.

Excerpts:

Q: Have you had a chance to interact with those you played against?

A: I met Gundappa Viswanath, and reminded him of the time he got a hundred in Kanpur in 1976. In the last over of the day, he was batting on 99. I wanted to make sure he did not get a hundred, so that he would have to come back and bat the next day. I bowled a barrage of short-pitched deliveries, but, mind you, they did not have to be that short to get over his head (laughs).

Q: Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and you played in an era of terrific all-rounders. Who do you rate as the best?

A: I would choose Imran. He could bat at any position, and play as the match situation demanded. He was a potent strike bowler with the big in-swingers. He was also a successful captain for Pakistan. I would like to think that I was the better bowler among the four of us, but my batting was a weakness.

Q: Does it surprise you that spot-fixing occurs even when players are well paid?

A: Perhaps the younger players want to make a quick buck. It's a shame, and it has to be stamped out. The culprits have to be made examples of. I think the most severe penalty that can be imposed on a player is to have his record erased. That is worse than going to jail. If records are erased, players will think twice before getting involved in things like this.

Q: What is your take on the use of technology in cricket, given some of the controversial decisions in the Ashes?

A: Technology can be used only if it is 100 per cent conclusive. I would personally like all decisions to remain (solely) in the hands of the umpires. I’m against players asking for reviews. If the umpires in the middle are not sure about an appeal, they can review it, and the third umpire will hopefully make the right decision. If the umpires in the middle make a wrong call, the third umpire can step in. The third umpire should then be able to review it, and change the decision. This takes the players out of the decision making process. All they have to do then is get on with the game.

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