The former New Zealand quick feels Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root are equally skillful, but the veteran South African batsman is just a class apart.
"All three Virat, Williamson, Root have their own skills. We need players who are superstars. AB de Villers for me is the most exciting in world cricket and can tear any attack perhaps more than all the others," Hadlee told India Today.
Earlier too, Hadlee rated Kohli, the Indian run machine, as a phenomenal player.
"He is world class clearly and is a phenomenal player. It's a real joy to watch (him play). He plays proper cricket shots in all forms of the game, even in T20 cricket. The four hundreds in a row he scored in the IPL were beautiful to watch.
He stamps his impression on the game and looks to dominate the bowlers. It takes a brave batsman to do that and he is showing no fear. (He's) beautiful to watch," Hadlee added.
Sir Hadlee, who scalped 431 wickets in 86 Test matches for New Zealand from the early 1970s till he retired in 1990, was in the city as the guest of Tata Trusts and spoke to the reporters at the Bombay House, its headquarters.
Asked whether Kohli is currently the best batsman in the world when there are players like Kane Williamson and England's Joe Root, Hadlee said, "They are different sorts of players. Kane Williamson is a fantastic player. He, without doubt, will be our best-ever batsman."