LONDON: Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar of India, South Africa’s pace bowling legend Allan Donald and former Australia woman fast bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick were on Thursday inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame at a ceremony in London.
Tendulkar, the most prolific batsman in history, was inducted immediately after becoming eligible for induction, which requires that a player should have played his last international match at least five years before. Tendulkar, who retired in November 2013, tallied 15,921 runs in Tests and 18,426 in ODIs, both of which remain records. He is the sixth Indian to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Right-armer Donald, known as the ‘White Lightening’, was arguably South Africa’s fastest bowler ever and finished with 330 Test and 272 ODI wickets. He is one of the players credited with South Africa’s success in the game after their return to international cricket in 1991.
Fitzpatrick, the eighth woman to win the award, was the fastest bowler in women’s cricket for a period of 16 years, ending her career with 180 wickets in 109 matches, a record then. She helped Australia win two ICC Women’s World Cups and finished with 60 wickets in 13 Tests.
Speaking on the occasion, Tendulkar, 46, said it was indeed a source of honour getting added on the ICC Hall of Fame.
“It is an honour to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, which cherishes the contribution of cricketers over generations. They have all contributed to the growth and popularity of the game and I am happy to have done my bit,” the right-handed batting maestro said at the London ceremony.
“On this occasion, I would like to thank all of those who were by my side over a long international career. My parents, brother Ajit and wife Anjali have been pillars of strength while I was lucky to have someone like coach Ramakant Achrekar as an early guide and mentor.
“I am also thankful to all my captains, fellow players and the BCCI and the MCA administrators over the years for their support and for making me enjoy the game so much and for so long. I thank the ICC for this appreciation of my cricket career and I am happy to note that cricket continues to grow with three popular formats,” he added.
The 52-year-old Donald, meanwhile expressed his shock on being included in the game’s most prestigious list.
“The biggest shock when you open an e-mail like that — it says congratulations Allan Donald, you have been inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame! It hits you, it hits you quite hard because it is a prestigious award and something that you can’t take lightly. I thank the ICC for the huge honour,” the pacer said at the ceremony.
“It all immediately takes you back to where you started. The reflection is of such a nature that everything that you have done in your career since you were a little boy starts to creep into your head. There are so many people to thank who have influenced my life — as mentors, as coaches.
“If I start with Free State cricket back in the day, then the legendary Hansie Cronje’s dad Mr Ewie Cronje, helped me through school and college cricket and then there was my uncle Des Donald who was very hard on me. Bob Woolmer was a mentor, we clicked in international cricket and he showed me the road to success,” Donald, who retired from international cricket back in 2003, said.
“To gain recognition alongside many of the games’ giants is a huge honour. I look at the list of past inductees and what stands out most is not only their outstanding talent, but that they were game changers. They took the game on and changed the way it was played,” the 51-year-old stated.
Fitzpatrick, once the fastest women pacer in world cricket, said the inclusion was a massive honour.
“Looking back, I can think of many highlights, which include winning the World Cup in 1997 and 2005, but it is a tour of England in 1998 where the Women’s Ashes was conceived that stands out. Playing five ODI’s followed by three Test Matches on a tour lasting six weeks was a time that I felt I was just a cricketer and didn’t have to combine work alongside playing.
“I have had many people over the journey who have guided me as coaches, team-mates, administrators and friends and I would like to thank them all.”