These Kiwis could fly

In Part 4 of our ongoing series, we look at New Zealand's highest impact makers in ODIs

Richard Hadlee is the only cricketer from the main 8 Test-playing nations who is the highest impact cricketer in both Tests and ODIs for his country – and so emphatically at that. He is, after all, the 6th highest impact ODI cricketer of all time. The gap between him and the others on this list is immense – what is remarkable about that is that Hadlee has only 1 SD (series/tournament-defining performance) to his credit and did not captain his side either.

That last column gives a cue why he’s still on top – a 16% failure rate denotes the greatest consistency in the history of ODI cricket (for a non-wicketkeeper all-rounder; a wicket-keeper registers an impact for just keeping wickets but Hadlee’s failure rate is even lower than most wicket-keepers, which is awe-inspiring). His 1 SD is also somewhat misleading, as he actually was one of the highest impact players in ODI history when it came to big matches – it’s just that his team did not win enough (despite his otherwise high impact performances).

The father-son pair of Chris Cairns and Lance Cairns as the 2nd and 3rd highest impact players in their country’s history is completely unique too. Both were all-rounders, though the son was a considerably better batsman. And a far more successful big match player (4 more SDs than his father) – but the father also played in an era where his country did not win that much as a team. 

Nathan Astle’s 6 SDs mark him out as the biggest series/tournament-defining player in his country’s ODI history – something that is perhaps not otherwise known. His failure rate of 41% (quite high for a near-all-rounder) gives further cues to why he’s not higher on this list.

New Zealand’s highest impact batsman Martin Crowe is also one of the most successful captains the Kiwis ever had – his innovative experiments still inspire free-thinking individuals in the game. New Zealand’s second- highest impact bowler Shane Bond’s presence on this list despite not having a single SD is a testament to his consistency and perhaps the biggest casualty of modern cricket politics in the game.

Veritable statesman Stephen Fleming is the most successful Kiwi captain in history, besides his country’s most capped player. That he is also one of the highest impact batsmen for his country is less of a surprise than his being the second-highest impact Kiwi fielder in ODI cricket (after Ross Taylor).

There are 5 current players in this list which does not augur badly for New Zealand at all, despite the somewhat tepid performance of their team in West Indies right now.

There is just one current-day player in the list of their highest impact 10 batsmen though.


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