Saturday 6 August 2022

Guest Review: Rhythm and Swing By Richard Hadlee

Review: This is the autobiography of the New Zealand cricketer Richard Hadlee, written with the assistance of the journalist Richard Brecht. It also includes a chapter by Richard Hadlee’s wife, Karen. Richard Hadlee was an all-rounder who played Test Match cricket for New Zealand during the 1970s and 1980s. He also had a spell playing county cricket in England for Nottinghamshire. Although he became known as an all-rounder, achieving the county “double” of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs for Nottinghamshire during the 1984 season, it was his seam bowling that was the stronger of the two disciplines. Just prior to the book’s publication (1989) he became, at the time, the world’s leading Test Match wicket taker, with 374 wickets, when he dismissed the Indian batter Arun Lal in November 1988.

Unusually for an autobiography, the book does not follow a chronological pattern but has chapters on specific topics, such as all-rounders, bowlers, batsmen, county cricket, touring and umpires. It is clear that, from a young, raw fast bowler, the author matured into a very thoughtful cricketer. What comes across is his attention to detail and his very meticulous preparation. It is probably this that allowed him to maintain high performance levels over what, for a fast bowler, was a relatively long career.

Unsurprisingly, the book concentrates a lot on cricket in New Zealand and its administration. Nevertheless, I found it a useful insight into the life of a dedicated, professional cricketer, and it is a book that should appeal to all cricket fans.

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