One of cricket's greats believes the current crop of New Zealand bowlers are as good as we've ever produced and quick bowling could be a genuine strength for the Black Caps at next year's World Cup.
Sir Richard Hadlee was positively fizzing talking about the bowling stocks, the options coach Mike Hesson has at his disposal and the depth around the country.
And while the national test side had just beaten India by 40 runs on the back of a strong bowling performance, especially by seamers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, Hadlee predicted the quick bowlers could play a major role in New Zealand going deep in the 14-team 50-over tournament beginning next February.
Speaking yesterday at a Cricket World Cup 2015 event in Blenheim where he was part of the ceremonial opening of the Armed Forces cricket tournament, Hadlee singled out the depth and competition for places in the one-day side as a real boost.
"Look at a guy like Trent Boult. I think he is one of our finest left-armers certainly in recent years, but probably ever and he can't make the one-day side; that's how strong it is. That competition is a great thing and the Black Caps have everything.
"They've got the pace of Adam Milne, the experience and cleverness of a Kyle Mills, Tim Southee is the leader and continues to get better and then there's a guy like Mitchell McClenaghan, an aggressive left-armer who can take wickets, a lot of wickets."
Hadlee went on to name a handful of other bowlers pushing their case and said any number could force their way into the side by the time the World Cup begins on February 14 next year.
"Thinking back to my time as a selector, and even back to my playing days, I can't remember our pace options being so strong. We've got seam, speed, swing and one or two bowlers with real presence, those in-your-face type bowlers that take it to an opposition."
That's high praise from a man who is comfortably considered the best New Zealander to bowl a cricket ball.
He was impressed with the way the New Zealand bowlers worked in partnerships and how they looked to have "clever, well thought-out plans" too.
"I think they're very thoughtful in their approach in my view. It's exciting to watch and it's exciting for next year's World Cup."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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