Zaheer Abbas, Kallis inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas, outstanding South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis and Australia women's star Lisa Sthalekar were all inducted into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Zaheer, 73, a prolific run-scorer during the 1970s and 1980s with both Pakistan and English county side Gloucestershire, was nicknamed the 'Asian Bradman' in honour of Australia's Don Bradman, widely regarded as Test cricket's greatest batsman of all time.
"I feel privileged and truly humbled to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame of the class of 2020," said Zaheer, a former president of the global governing body and the only player from Asia to have scored a hundred first-class hundreds.
- 'Final recognition' -
Zaheer scored a double-century and a century in the same first-class match on a record four occasions and was the first batsman to score three successive centuries in one-day international cricket.
"I would like to say a special thanks to my family, my country Pakistan, my county Gloucestershire and many fans worldwide who helped me achieve and fulfil my dreams by playing this great game at the highest level," he said.
"Thank you, ICC, and the members of the jury, for this special honour. It is a final recognition for any cricketer. This great game has made me the person I am."
Kallis, 44, is the only player to score at least 10,000 runs and take at least 250 wickets in both Test and ODI cricket.
"It is something that I never expected when I started playing," said Kallis, the most capped South African player in both Test and ODI cricket. "I only wanted to win the games for whoever I was playing for."
- 'Pantheon of greats' -
India-born off-spinner Sthalekar, 41, was the first woman to achieve the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in ODI cricket.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to join such an illustrious group of players," said Sthalekar as she thanked her team-mates.
Kallis is the fourth South African player inducted and Zaheer the sixth from Pakistan. Sthalekar is the ninth women's cricketer in the list.
In all, 93 players have been inducted so far under the system in which players become eligible five years after playing their last international match.
Hall of Fame members formed the majority of the adjudicating panel with representation from the media, ICC and Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA).
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney: "These are all players with a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations for years to come.
"I congratulate Zaheer, Jacques and Lisa on their inclusion in the pantheon of cricket greats."
Zaheer has been selected by a voting academy made up of current ICC Hall of Famers and prominent journalists, and joins compatriots Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram (all 2009) and Waqar Younis (2013). The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame includes 27 Australia cricketers, 28 England players, six India cricketers, three from New Zealand, four from South Africa, one Sri Lankan and 18 players from the West Indies.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani: “It is a matter of great honour and pride for Pakistan that Zaheer Abbas’s outstanding career achievements have been acknowledged by the game’s governing body. Thus, it gives me immense pleasure to congratulate Zed on behalf of millions of Pakistan cricket fans across the world for this recognition.”
“It is appropriate that Zaheer be inducted into the elite group exactly 46 years after his magnificent 240 against England at The Oval in his 15th Test, which was his second double-century following the famous 274 at Edgbaston in 1971 in only his second Test. He would go on to score 235 not out and 215 against India (1978 and 1982) and every innings was a treat to watch and matched the other.
“I am sure all those who watched Zaheer live in action will agree that when he batted, it was like a poetry in motion. It was his immaculate footwork backed up by superlative wrist work with an ability to consistently bisect the field that not only made him a run-machine but also one of the most attractive and graceful batsmen ever to grace this great game.
“Zaheer had a huge positive impact on Pakistan cricket. After he had established himself as a household name in every cricket playing country, the younger generation fell in love with the sport and consequently, we produced a battery of champion world-class batsmen such as Javed Miandad, Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Saleem Malik, Ramiz Raja, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Aamir Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam.
“Zaheer’s contributions to cricket were beyond the field of play when as an administrator, he served the PCB and the ICC with respect and dignity. He richly deserves this recognition from the ICC, which hopefully will further inspire next generation of Pakistan cricketers.”