Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas, former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar and legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis were on Sunday inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame.

Kallis is the fourth South African player inducted and Abbas the sixth from Pakistan. Pune-born Sthalekar is the 27th from Australia and the ninth woman player in the list, which includes five from Australia.

In all, 93 players have been inducted so far under the system, which sees retired players become eligible five years after playing their last international match.

Among the finest all-rounders to ever play the game, Kallis represented South Africa in 166 Tests, 328 ODIs and 25 T20s between 1995 and 2014. The 44-year-old is Proteas’ highest run-getter in Tests and ODIs with 13289 and 11579 runs respectively. He also picked up 292 and 273 wickets in Tests and ODIs as a pacer.

“He is a colossus. The word fits him like a glove. No praise is too high for this colossus. Very well deserved to be in this ICC Hall of Fame,” said Gavaskar, who was inducted into the elite club in 2009.

Gavaskar was also all praise for Sthalekar.

“It is good to have another ‘Kar’ in the ICC Hall of Fame. Well done. You are an inspiration, not just in Australia also in India (as she was born there).

“You have interacted with many cricketers in India including the junior cricketers. You have shown with your feistiness that women can play at the highest level.”

Sthalekar represented Australia in eight Tests, 125 ODIs and 54 T20s.

The third cricketer to be feted in the ceremony was Abbas, hailed as the ‘Asian Bradman’. Abbas played 78 Tests and 62 ODIs for Pakistan, accumulating 5062 and 2572 runs respectively. He averaged over 40 in both the formats.

“Absolutely delighted. No one deserves it more than him. Don’t know why it took so long but better late than ever. When you saw him bat, even when it was your team’s expense, you enjoyed his batting.

“His class made you enjoy. His hunger for big runs stood out. I am very happy to call him a friend,” said Gavaskar.

The ICC conducted the ceremony virtually amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was attended by, among others, Kallis’ longtime teammate Shaun Pollock and Indian great Sunil Gavaskar.

Here’s what the inductees had to say:

Jacques Kallis: 

“It’s a great honour to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. It is something that I never expected when I started playing. I certainly did not play the game for any accolades or anything like that, I only wanted to win the games for whoever I was playing for. 

“But it is nice to be recognised when one has succeeded in the sport, it is nice to be recognised by people for something that you have achieved in the game, something that I am really proud of.” 

Lisa Sthalekar: 

“I am deeply humbled to receive this honour. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to join such an illustrious group of players. 

“I was fortunate enough to learn from the best when I entered the Australia team – Belinda Clark, Karen Rolton and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, all of whom have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and rightly so. The guidance from them and other teammates along the way kept me focused but also ensured that it was a fun environment. Thanks to all my teammates. 

“It goes without saying that if it wasn’t for the support of my family, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have.” 

Zaheer Abbas: 

“I feel privileged and truly humbled to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame of the class of 2020. I am excited to be in the midst of other illustrious cricketers.

“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. 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. Thank you cricket.”

Career highlights

Jacques Kallis:

  • The only player to score at least 10,000 runs and take at least 250 wickets in both Test and ODI cricket
  • South Africa’s leading Test run-scorer, and currently third on the all-time list
  • The most capped South African player in both Test and ODI cricket
  • Scored 113 not out in the semi-final and took 5-30 in the final as South Africa won the first ICC Knockout Tournament (later the ICC Champions Trophy) in 1998
  • Won 23 ‘Player of the Match’ awards in Test cricket, more than anyone else
  • Spent 592 days as the No.1 ranked Test batsman (2005-2011)
  • Spent 4028 days as the No.1 ranked Test all-rounder (2000-2013) and a record 493 matches ranked number 1
  • ICC Player of the Year and ICC Test Player of the year in 2005

Lisa Sthalekar:

  • Over the course of her career, topped both ODI batting and bowling rankings
  • The first woman to achieve the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in ODI cricket
  • Spent 934 days as the No.1 ranked ODI all-rounder (2007-2010)
  • Part of the Australia teams that won the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2005 and 2013 and ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2010 and 2012
  • She won 12 Women’s National Cricket League titles with New South Wales, and was captain for five victories in a row
  • Short-listed for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in both 2007 and 2008 and for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year in 2012

Zaheer Abbas:

  • The only player from Asia to have scored at least a 100 first-class hundreds
  • Became just the second player to score his hundredth first-class century in a Test Match
  • He scored two centuries in the same first-class match on a record eight occasions
  • On a record four occasions he scored a double-century and a century in the same first-class match
  • The first player to score three successive centuries in ODI cricket
  • Spent 215 days as the No.1 ranked ODI batsman (1983-1984)
  • Captained Pakistan in 14 Test Matches, and only lost one of them
  • Later served as an ICC Match Referee and as ICC President