New Zealand’s Famous Cricketers
There’s no doubt that some of the best cricketers the world has seen have been New Zealanders. They’re perhaps not as famous as the world greats of Warne, Murali, Lara and Kohli, but each of them deserve recognition for different reasons. Here’s a look at two of the most iconic cricketers New Zealand has ever seen, as well as the country’s leading batsman.
Sir Richard Hadlee
In a career running from 1973 to 1990, Sir Richard Hadlee is currently New Zealand’s second-highest wicket-taker with 589. Just as impressive is that he took an incredible nine 10-wicket hauls in that time. No New Zealand player even comes close to this. When you add in his lifetime average and economy at 22.10, you can see why his bowling ability made the world stop and watch.
He was the first player in the world to reach 400 Test wickets, and after dominating with the ball and also being devastating with the bat, he was one of the best all-rounders on the planet in his prime. One has to wonder whether any future New Zealand cricketer can reach Hadlee’s pinnacle status.
In 1990, Hadlee was knighted for his services to cricket, adding another personal accolade to his award of the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1982.
Daniel Vettori is the only New Zealand bowler to have more wickets than Hadlee, claiming the scalps of 705 batsmen in his career ranging from 1997 to 2015. Vettori was a youthful 18 when he made his debut in 1997 and became one of the world’s best spinners in a short time. He was recognised for his leadership abilities and handed the captaincy in 2007, taking over from the brilliant Stephen Fleming. Stepping into such large shoes was a challenging prospect, but Vetorri embraced it with open arms, leading from the front with his ability to pin down the world’s best batsmen with his orthodox spin.
An impressive accolade to mention is that he was the 8th cricketer to reach 3,000 Test runs and 300 Test wickets. Combine this with Vettori ranking 14th for the most wickets ever taken, and he deserves his place among the elite players of the world and New Zealand cricket. He continues to serve cricket in his retirement, having been signed as Bangladesh’s spin coach in July 2019.
Ross Taylor holds the record for the most centuries ever scored by a New Zealander. In 2019, this totals 38 with more to come since he’s only 13 years into his international career. He’s also the country’s highest-ever runs scorer with an incredible 16,842 in 460 innings — an average of 43.74.
His batting prowess is part of the reason why New Zealand has been prosperous in the Cricket World Cup. Since he made his debut in 2006, the team has progressed to two semi-finals and two finals in four World Cups. Perhaps his best stint with the bat occurred before his period of captaincy, a time in which he opted out from touring to South Africa. In 2013, Taylor scored a brilliant 495 runs in five innings against the West Indies. In 2014, he scored three One Day International hundreds in only three visits to the crease.
Since Taylor is still playing, he is only going to go on to dominate at the top of the New Zealand batting rankings for some time to come, especially since he’s currently rated the 5th best batsman in the ICC ODI ratings.