SYDNEY, Jan 2 Three Pakistani cricketing legends Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad have figured among the 55 former players named on Friday in the ICC's inaugural Hall of Fame list as part of its centenary celebrations.
Launching the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the initiative, in association with Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA), would provide the chance for the game to recognise its greatest achievers.
'Given a key theme of the ICC's centenary year is celebrating the game's heritage then the foundation of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame is an entirely logical step,' he said. 'It will provide a means of recognising the historical contribution of past players, officials and even institutions in making cricket what it is today, a great sport with a great spirit,' he added.
Legendary opening batsman Hanif Mohammad, nicknamed the 'Little Master' by world critics for his magnificent batsmanship features alongwith Pakistan's greatest skipper and all-rounder Imran Khan and batting maestro Javed Miandad who remains Pakistan's highest run-getter in Tests.
'I feel truly honoured to be bracketed among the greatest cricketing legends of all time,' said Hanif. 'In fact, I am a little surprised because I haven't really achieved so much as to be placed in this exclusive list of greats. But I did my best for Pakistan and in getting this honour, I feel proud that I have done something of note for my country.'
The three players will be receiving commemorative caps from the ICC later this month.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, who also features in the list alongwitrh Kapil Dev and Bishen Singh Bedi, said he felt honoured being named along with Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers.
'To be recognised by the premier authority in the game, the ICC, and that, too, in its centenary year, is an honour indeed. It is a privilege and I am overwhelmed and humbled to be included in such august company as Sir Donald Bradman and the one and only Sir Garry Sobers,' he said.
Former Australia wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh became the first Hall of Famer to receive his commemorative cap from ICC President David Morgan. 'I'm deeply honoured to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Being recognised in this way is humbling, especially when I look at the names of the players in this list and think about those who will join it in the years to come,' Marsh said. 'It [ICC Cricket Hall of Fame] is another way of showing what a great history our game has and anything that does that has to be a good thing,' Marsh said.
The career statistics and biographies of the 55 inductees can be found at the new ICC centenary website, also launched, www.catchthespirit.com.
Each year, starting 2009, new inductees will be announced during the ICC awards ceremony. The initial inductees or, in the case of those who have passed away, their relatives will be presented with a commemorative ICC Cricket Hall of Fame cap at an appropriate stage during the ICC centenary year.
The living members of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame will also have the chance to choose new inductees. 'We have studied numerous Halls of Fame in other sports to see what works and what doesn't and how best we can achieve our goal, to recognise the game's greatest achievers. We want to ensure that as many of the game's stakeholders as possible, including current ICC Cricket Hall of Famers and members of the public, get the chance to have their say in the process of choosing the game's true legends,' Lorgat said.
FICA chief executive Tim May was delighted at the new joint initiative of cricketers' association and the ICC. 'FICA believes it is important to honour the outstanding contributions many individuals have made to the game,' said May.
'The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in association with FICA is obviously the appropriate forum to do so and we are delighted to join with the ICC in this great venture,' he added.
ICC Cricket Hall of Fame inductees Sydney Barnes, Bishen Singh Bedi, Alec Bedser, Richie Benaud, Allan Border, Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Donald Bradman, Greg Chappell, Ian Chappell, Denis Compton, Colin Cowdrey, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Lance Gibbs, Graham Gooch, David Gower, WG Grace, Tom Graveney, Gordon Greenidge, Richard Hadlee, Walter Hammond, Neil Harvey, George Headley, Jack Hobbs, Michael Holding, Leonard Hutton, Rohan Kanhai, Imran Khan, Alan Knott, Jim Laker, Harold Larwood, Dennis Lillee, Ray Lindwall, Clive Lloyd, Hanif Mohammad, Rodney Marsh, Malcolm Marshall, Peter May, Javed Miandad, Keith Miller, Bill O'Reilly, Graeme Pollock, Wilfred Rhodes, Barry Richards, Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Garfield Sobers, Brian Statham, Fred Trueman, Derek Underwood, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Frank Woolley, Frank Worrell.