Dubai: India star opener Virender Sehwag has been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame for a stellar cricket career that spanned for more than a decade as the International Cricket Council announced 2023 inductees on Monday.
Joining Sehwag in the prestigious list of legends are India trailblazer Diana Edulji and Sri Lanka superstar Aravinda de Silva.
The ICC Hall of Fame honours the greatest international cricketers throughout the long history of the sport, and the enduring legacies of de Silva, Edulji and Sehwag see them join as inductees number 110, 111 and 112 respectively, the ICC release read.
Sehwag was a pivotal figure in the World Cup-winning campaign for India in 2011, and his record-breaking career spanned 14 years and over 17,000 runs in international cricket.
“I would like to thank the ICC and the jury for inducting me with this honour. I feel extremely grateful for having spent a great part of my life doing what I loved most, ‘hitting the cricket ball’. I would also like to thank my family, friends, people I played with, and countless people who prayed for me selflessly,’ said Sehwag.
Sehwag scored a total of 23 Test centuries, scoring 8,586 runs at an average of 49.34 during his illustrious career – the fifth most by an India men’s player – with his highest score of 319 against South Africa in Chennai in 2008 the best of any Indian player ever.
But it wasn’t just against the red-ball that Sehwag thrived, with the dynamic right-hander just as effective against the white-ball with an equally imposing record at ODI level.
He totalled 8,273 runs in 251 ODIs for India and his 219 against the West Indies in Indore in 2011 remains the third-highest score achieved by any men’s player at ODI level.
On the other hand, Edulji became the first Indian female inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame 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.
She played 54 matches for India over three different decades and made her mark as a slow left-arm orthodox spinner that netted more than 100 wickets for her country.
But it is perhaps off the field that Edulji has had an even greater impact, having played a major role as a trailblazer for India’s women’s cricketers for many decades.
In her role as administrator with Western Railways, Edulji worked hard to increase employment opportunities for talented female cricketers in India, and helped shape the sports policy of Western and Indian Railways.
Edulji said it was a massive honour to become the first female cricketer from India to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame.
“At the outset, I would like to thank the ICC and the Jury for having selected me to be inducted in the ICC Hall Of Fame 2023,” Edulji said. “It indeed is a great honour to be the first Indian Women 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. It’s not only a proud moment for me, my family and friends but also for BCCI and Indian Women’s Cricket,” she added.
Sri Lanka star De Silva enjoyed a 19-year international career for Sri Lanka, notably playing a starring role in their memorable run to victory at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 1996.
The consistent right-hander scored 20 Test centuries during an 18-year international career – the third most hundreds by any Sri Lanka men’s player – and was just as adept against the white-ball with another 11 centuries coming in 50-over cricket.
The most important of those was in the 1996 World Cup final, as de Silva almost single-handedly willed his side over the line against Australia with an unbeaten 107* in what was an unforgettable run chase.
De Silva made special mention of the role his family had in helping guide his successful cricket career.
“I am filled with profound gratitude as I accept the immense honour of being inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. This achievement is a tribute to the dedication, sacrifice, and love that have shaped my cricketing journey,” de Silva said.
“My family, my parents, my sister, my wife and children are my anchor, and deserve the deepest thanks for their unwavering support and sacrifice, which have propelled me towards success. My friends, steadfast companions throughout my highs and lows, have been my pillars of strength.”
Following a voting process conducted among existing Hall of Famers, media representatives and senior executives from FICA and the ICC, three new names will be added to the prestigious list of legends that comprise the ICC Hall of Fame; Aravinda de Silva, Diana Edulji and Virender Sehwag.