The Sun quoted Hadlee as saying that Freddie Flintoff should not be bracketed with himself, Botham, Imran Khan and Kapil Dev who made up a golden era for all-rounders in the 1980s.
The Lancashire star has just two five-wicket hauls in 67 Tests while Botham managed the feat 27 times and Hadlee took 36 five-fors.
Hadlee explained: "What"s Flintoff striking - around three wickets per Test? The others took four or more. There"s no doubt Flintoff can bat and bowl. In fact, his bowling has been very impressive. 'He operates at around 90mph, hits the deck, has a presence and forces batsmen to make mistakes."
Hadlee, 56, will end eight years as New Zealand"s selection manager when their tour concludes.
His team has been ravaged by retirements and defections to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL0.
Hadlee fears a tough few weeks and admitted: "I think England are out-and-out favourites. I want Kiwis to be competitive in both forms of the game and for the younger players to make gains. We"re competitive in one-day cricket, but we don"t play nearly as much Test cricket as the other countries."