Dubai: Former India’s swashbuckling batsman Virendra Sehwag, former Sri Lankan captain Aravinda de Silva and former Indian women cricketer Diana Edulji have all been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame on Monday.
Sehwag was a pivotal figure in the Indian team and his record-breaking career spanned 14 years and over 17,000 runs in international cricket. Originally a middle-order batter, Sehwag struck a century on his Test debut against South Africa and was soon moved up the order by India’s captain Sourav Ganguly. He revolutionised the opener’s role in Test cricket and ended up scoring more runs at a greater rate than anyone in Test history.
Sehwag brought up India’s first Test triple-century in March 2004 with a six against Pakistan, and four years later he again passed the 300 mark against South Africa at Chennai from just 278 balls. He almost made it three Test triple centuries the following year, but fell seven runs short against Sri Lanka at Mumbai.
Sehwag set a record ODI score of 219 against the West Indies in 2011, which stood for three years, and was instrumental in India’s march to victory in the World Cup in 2011, striking 175 in the opening game against Bangladesh. “I would like to thank the ICC and the jury for inducting me with this honour,” Sehwag said. “I feel extremely grateful for having spent a great part of my life doing what I loved most, ‘hitting the cricket ball’.
First Indian female
Edulji became the first Indian female inducted into the list thanks to a 17-year international playing career and her pioneering role in establishing the most successful domestic team in Indian women’s cricket history.
Edulji was a trailblazer who enjoyed a 17-year international career, and was arguably the first great female cricketer produced by India. A right-handed batter and slow left-arm bowler, only two women have taken more Test wickets, and none have bowled more deliveries.
She played in three ICC Women’s Cricket World Cups, captaining India in 1978 and 1993, taking 14 wickets in the latter tournament. She struck a half-century in just her second Test, and her best bowling figures were 6-64 against Australia at Delhi eight years later.
However, her sphere of influence extended beyond the field of play. In 1984, she convinced the Railways Minister to field a women’s cricket team, and subsequently Railways became the most successful side in Indian women’s cricket. She won 11 national titles for Railways to add to the three she had previously won with Mumbai.
By the time she retired after the 1993 World Cup, only Lyn Fullston had taken more wickets in all forms of international cricket. “It indeed is a great honour to be the first Indian women’s cricketer to be inducted and join a galaxy of cricketers, male and female from across the world. I am delighted to be considered for this award,” Edulji said.
De Silva’s starring role
De Silva enjoyed a 19-year international career for Sri Lanka, notably playing a starring role in their memorable run to victory at the 1996 World Cup. De Silva made his Test debut at Lord’s in 1984, and scored 75 as Sri Lanka recorded the first Test win in their history a year later, defeating India at Colombo. A first Test century followed against a Pakistan attack of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir at Faisalabad the following month, and in 1991 he struck a then-national record individual score of 267 against New Zealand at Wellington.
The all-rounder was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning campaign in 1996, and his contributions during a memorable Final against Australia in Lahore are written in cricket folklore. De Silva took three key wickets with his off-spin to restrict Australia’s score, before scoring an unbeaten 107 to navigate his side out of trouble to win their maiden global crown. He was the first to score a century and take three wickets in the same World Cup match — and is still the only one to do so in a final.
He signed off from Test cricket in 2002 with a double-century in his final innings and retired from all international cricket after the 2003 World Cup. “This achievement is a tribute to the dedication, sacrifice, and love that have shaped my cricketing journey. My sincere appreciation goes to the ICC, and the Hall of Fame voting committee for this extraordinary recognition. I share this honour with all who have stood by and shaped me.”
Extensive and vibrant history
ICC Chief Executive Officer Geoff Allardice said: “We are thrilled to announce Aravinda, Diana and Virender as the latest group of legends to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. This institution continues to celebrate the extensive and vibrant history of the sport through the very best players ever to grace the international stage. These three figures have revolutionised the sport in their own way, and have provided fans with some of the most unforgettable moments in recent memory.
“Their lasting contributions to cricket mean they are richly deserving of their status in the ICC Hall of Fame and we look forward to celebrating the Class of 2023 in Mumbai later this week,” he added
As part of this year’s celebrations, the three will be inducted in a special on-field ceremony at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai during the first semi-final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on November 15.