The big-hitters are being pulled into the punditry maelstrom as the build-up to the World Test Championship final begins to gain pace.
And as far as New Zealand are concerned, the big-hitters don’t come much heavier than Sir Richard Hadlee.
Hadlee, a bowling all-rounder, had one of the smoothest actions of all quick bowlers, but raised concerns over the longevity of a man with one of the most jagged and uneven, Jasprit Bumrah, who will be expected to play a central role for India in the showpiece match against Hadlee’s New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl next month.
Hadlee, who was the first Test bowler to 400 wickets and ended up taking a total of 431 at a stunning average of just 22.29, told the ICC website: “His technique, in some ways, defies belief but has proved to be a highly effective one. He is what I call a shoulder or strength bowler with all his power and pace coming from the final part of his action as he releases the ball.
“Jasprit’s longevity in the game is yet to be determined. I suspect he could be more vulnerable to injury problems than those fast bowlers with more classical and pure actions or techniques.”
Bumrah has made a great start to his Test career taking 83 wickets from his first 19 matches and, on paper, would seem to be on course to go past Hadlee’s aggregate – the New Zealander had only 75 wickets at the same stage. However, Hadlee’s durability enabled him to play until he had just turned 39 and he questioned whether the Mumbai Indians bowler, already 27, could equal that.
“Some of his potential injuries could be severe because of the stresses and strains he places on his body,” Hadlee said. “I hope any injuries he may incur will not be potentially career-ending because he is a delight to watch, and he causes batsmen all sorts of problems with his unsuspecting pace, bounce, and ball movement in the air and off the pitch.”
Hadlee, of course, did not have the strains and stresses of three formats to play, although the number of ODIs he participated in was sizeable for the era – 115 – and he played 256 first-class matches during a nine-year stint with Nottinghamshire and in provincial cricket in New Zealand with Canterbury.
Bumrah’s workload was sensitively handled by India during the winter when, with the home side’s spinners dominating against England, and his impending marriage, he was restricted to two Test matches, missing the three ODIs and the five-match T20I series.