Walter Hadlee

Patriarch of a cricket clan


Walter Arnold Hadlee, accountant, cricketer and administrator: born Lincoln, New Zealand 4 June 1915; OBE 1950, CBE 1978; married 1940 Lilla Monro (five sons); died Christchurch, New Zealand 29 September 2006.

The name Hadlee is as meaningful in New Zealand's cricket as Grace is in England's. Walter, the patriarch of the Hadlee clan, died in Christchurch on Friday aged 91 after a career as a player, captain, coach, manager, selector, chairman and president of his country's cricket, a leading delegate and influence in what has become the International Cricket Conference.

What's more, he had five sons, three of whom played for New Zealand: Dayle and Richard, who appeared in Tests, and Barry, who played in the World Cup. Richard, an outstanding all-rounder and one of the great fast bowlers, made the name ring around the world with his triumphs for his country and for Nottinghamshire and rightly retired as Sir Richard. Very few sporting accolades have been more deserved.

Walter could have walked straight out of a pre-war advertisement designed to attract the English gentleman. Tall, bespectacled, long-legged, pipe-smoking, he was a tough right-handed batsman who occasionally opened, one of sound defensive technique who could score quickly when the New Zealand team of his day could afford to attack. He possessed a handsome off drive, front or back foot, and a range of other shots not seen too often. He was a top-class fielder, often at mid-off, fast and never tiring, a sure catch and a good throw. As a captain he acted quietly and firmly but in the field showed a ruthlessness in driving his men, himself most of all.

He emerged from Christchurch High School to appear for Canterbury in 1933 and was chosen to tour England in 1937, scoring 93 in 135 minutes in the second Test at Old Trafford before slipping and treading on his wicket. He made 1,225 runs on the tour, at an average of 29.87, and then, like many of his generation, lost his best years to the Second World War. He reminded New Zealand's selectors with 198 for Otago against the visiting Australians in Dunedin in 1946.

His hour came when he led New Zealand in their first-post-war tour of England, at a time when some critics felt that to give the Kiwis four three-day Tests was overtaxing their resources. John Arlott wrote:

They had expected to play three four-day Tests; but eventually it was decided, for financial reasons, that they would play four of three days each. That shrewd captain Walter Hadlee, smiling grimly, observed: "Well, that means we can draw all four." And they did.

This despite losing the toss in the first three Tests.

Hadlee contributed 1,439 runs and had some powerful batting lieutenants in the world-class left-handers Bert Sutcliffe and Martin Donnelly, the aptly named Verdun Scott and the superb all-rounder John Reid. The bowling was much weaker, so Hadlee contrived to contain England's big-name batsmen - Len Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich, Denis Compton - by insisting on strict length and line, backed by relentless fielding. Hutton thought Hadlee's fields the hardest to penetrate. Rex Alston commented:

No touring side has had a more unselfish, conscientious or thoughtful captain. He was an expert placer of his field, his judgement of a tactical situation was sound and his wise handling of his team, allied to his own splendid fielding, made him a captain to be remembered.

Two years later Freddie Brown's England team, after a hectic 20-week tour of Australia, had a chance for revenge in New Zealand, Hadlee scoring 116 in a draw at Christchurch. There, and at Wellington, where England won by six wickets, the grounds were full, E.W. Swanton remarking that "the quietness after the behaviour in Australia remains a memory to this day" before pointing out that Hadlee had committed a grievous error:

[Alex] Moir bowled the last over before tea from one end and Hadlee unwittingly put him on first at the other end afterwards.

Swanton often referred to Hadlee as "an old friend", even if New Zealand's mealtimes could be a dashed nuisance:

Apart from the inconvenience - even the impossibility sometimes after a day's cricket - of having to dine at six-thirty sharp I greatly enjoyed New Zealand.

In the following decade Hadlee managed New Zealand teams and when Kerry Packer launched his rival World Series cricket in 1977 Hadlee was a forceful opponent as New Zealand's president. He was appointed OBE in 1950 and advanced CBE in 1978. He averaged 30 in his 11 Test matches, 18 centuries at an average of 40.44 in his first-class career. Although he retired as early as 1951 he played his last game of cricket in 1990.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world