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How Richard Hadlee’s car nearly caused a rift in the New Zealand team

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Richard Hadlee has revealed an interesting story about how his car, a 1986 Alfa Romeo Saloon, nearly caused a rift in the New Zealand team at the time.

Hadlee won the automobile after being recognised as the International Cricketer of the Year following his display in Australia in 1985/86. It wasn’t until he was on the flight home that he was told by the management that the car would go towards team fund – there was, at the time, an unwritten rule that all cash prizes would go towards the fund.

However, Hadlee wanted to keep the car, and he said it caused a “stigma” that stuck with him for a long time. “I was voted International Cricketer of the Year and there was a presentation on the Sydney Cricket Ground, and I was presented the keys to the car and [they] were going to ship the car to New Zealand, which I thought was nice,” Hadlee told Ian Smith in Sky Sports’ The Pod.

“There was a point of difference. It was an ‘object’, if you like. It wasn’t until we were on the plane home that management said to me, ‘Richard, you’re going to have to sell the car and put the money into team funds.’

“I said, ‘What if I want to keep the car?’, and he said ‘you’d have to put money out of your own pocket into team funds’ to whatever value the car was. I think it was about $30-35,000, something like that.”

Hadlee decided to keep the car, and instead of cash, he offered a week’s holiday at his Lake Taupo timeshare, which a few players took him up on.

However, according to the New Zealand Herald, meetings were held and votes were taken on the matter, with the team captain at the time – Jeremy Coney – even saying in his book that Hadlee had gone against the principles of team unity.

The pacer came away from it all with a stigma. “I think that stigma of keeping the car stayed around for a long, long time,” Hadlee said. “I like to think it’s all over now, but there were some people who were very, very bitter about the decision.”

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