Nottinghamshire legend Sir Richard Hadlee has spoken of his time with the county as ‘invaluable’, as he reflected on scooping the PCA Players’ Player of the Year award on three occasions while with the Club.
The double County Championship-winner picked up the Reg Hayter Cup in 1981, 1984 and 1987 – one of only a handful of players to have collected the trophy on multiple occasions.
Speaking to mark the 50th anniversary of the NatWest PCA Awards, Hadlee reflected on his time in the English domestic game.
“The greatest opportunity I ever had was coming to England and playing county cricket for Nottinghamshire,” he said.
“It really fine-tuned my game, not only as a fast bowler but also my all-round skills.
“I was never supposed to be a professional cricketer. It just so happened that Nottinghamshire needed a replacement for Clive Rice and I was the man on the spot in London.
“I was only supposed to stay for three years, but ended up being at Trent Bridge for over ten seasons.”
Known for his ability to move the ball through the air and off the pitch, Hadlee’s skillset always seemed destined to be suited to English conditions.
However, he particularly enjoyed plying his trade in the UK for more than just that reason.
“I was playing against some quality teams and certainly some world-class players. You were allowed two overseas players in those days - there were some wonderful West Indian fast bowlers, and of course Imran Khan as well. The competition was good which was the absolutely key thing," he said.
“The committee and the supporters were brilliant, too. You’d always be doing fundraising activities and going to schools to coach kids. It was just a wonderful, wonderful experience all things considered.
“Coming to England really fast-tracked my cricket career and gave me invaluable experience – I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Hadlee was the first man to win the PCA award on three occasions, with only Somerset’s Marcus Trescothick matching his achievement in subsequent years.
And the New Zealand international confirmed the award was a motivating factor for him during his time at Trent Bridge.
“Although I wasn’t aware of the PCA Players’ Player of the Year award when I first arrived in England, I soon learned how it worked and it definitely motivated me to do better,” Hadlee recalled.
“People always say they just play for the love of the game but of course you want to win awards like these – the thought of winning the Player of the Year definitely lifted my performances.
“It’s great to have the respect of your fellow professionals, not only as a person but also as a professional who performs well on the field. If you are producing those results that make you so highly rated by your peers then that can only be a good thing.”
“There’s no question about it. I’m very proud to be the first man to have won the award on three occasions.”
This year’s Player of the Year award will be presented at the Roundhouse in London on Wednesday 2 October, alongside accolades for the PCA Young Player of the Year and NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer.
Nottinghamshire Membership for the 2020 season is on sale, with those who join for next season currently bestowed exclusive access to applying for international tickets.