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Broad

'He's on the verge of greatness' – Hadlee lauds 'extraordinary' Broad

England news

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 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. 

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.

Richard Hadlee

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 told Stuff.

"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."

Sir Richard Hadlee was the first ever bowler to reach 400 wickets in Tests
Sir Richard Hadlee was the first ever bowler to reach 400 wickets in Tests

Hadlee, the leading wicket-taker for New Zealand in Tests with 431 scalps to his name, had shortened his run-up at the age of 29 to develop more accuracy and consistency, and had similar advice for Broad, who is now 33.

"There was less stress and strain on the body and fewer injuries, I could bowl in longer spells and come back relatively fresh far quicker," Hadlee recalled his run-up. "I had to refine my technique and it gave me better rhythm and allowed me to get close to the stumps at delivery. I could hold my position to keep myself more upright.

"I probably lacked a bit in pace, but I made up for it by being a lot more consistent and reliable. I developed better skills of swing and seam and could still bowl the effort ball, and put batsmen on their backsides. That was what I talked to him [Broad] about."

Broad finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the Ashes behind Pat Cummins
Broad finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the Ashes behind Pat Cummins

Broad, who overtook Hadlee's wickets tally against India at The Oval last year, is currently seventh on the all-time charts with 467 scalps to his name. His next Test assignment will be the two-match series away in New Zealand in November this year.

"He's a professional cricketer who's done wonders for England and served his country well," Hadlee added. "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]."

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