Friday, September 29, 2006

Farewell, Walter...

Walter Hadlee has played his last innings. A creditable player at a time when New Zealand couldn't compete internationally, he was a dogged leader who brought together the likes of Bert Sutcliffe, John Reid, Martin Donnelly, Jack Cowie, and the much under-rated Merv Wallace. As with all the cricketers of his age, a seven year hole in Hadlee's time at the crease was attributable to World War II. Hadlee went on to become Chairman of New Zealand cricket: his gutsy character brought him into conflict with that other most dominant and bloody-minded cricketing personality of the 1970's, Glenn Maitland Turner.

Walter was an odd character. It takes a certain kind of obsessive mind to play test cricket. It takes an even more compulsive personality to captain his country; to breed three international cricketers is simply insane.

For the last sixty years Walter has been the grand old man of New Zealand cricket. His favourite party trick was based on his fanatical devotion to numbers and statistics. At a cocktail party, he would ask somebody their age and birthday. Within an instant, he would say: "Ah, you were born on a Tuesday."

Walter will now be debating Inzy's suspension with St Peter, and telling God what day He was born. Farewell, old chap.


Cactus Kate said...

A beautiful eulogy IP.

I read of Walter's death in The Bangkok Post.

He was definitely international.

On a different but related note now you bring up G.M. Turner, I think we need to get our heads together and write a piece each on "the most difficult NZ cricketer ever".

Anonymous said...