Victorian great Neil Harvey was recognised by the Melbourne Cricket Club today with a statue on the Australia Post Avenue of Legends.
A member of Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’, Harvey is the second Victorian cricketer to be acknowledged in the series, with Shane Warne unveiled as the inaugural recipient in 2011.
During a decorated playing career, Harvey played 79 Test matches and accumulated 6149 runs at 48.41 including 21 centuries.
He remains the youngest ever Australian to score a Test century after achieving the feat as a 19-year-old in just his second match.
Harvey also represented Victoria on 64 occasions and made 4914 runs at 50.14 including 12 centuries and 27 half-centuries.
As a result, Harvey was selected in the Australian Team of the 20th Century and is considered by many as the nation’s finest batsman behind Sir Donald Bradman.
“This is a huge unexpected honour,” Harvey said today.
“It’s a little bit hard to comprehend… It truly is the finale for my cricketing career… I’m so thankful to the MCC for selecting me for this great honour.
“It will be forever remembered by all my family here today.”
Harvey was watched on by his family, friends and former cricket teammates, including Lindsay Kline, Colin McDonald and Ian Meckiff, as he revealed the one-and-a-half-times life size bronzed sculpture of himself as a young Australian cricketer.
One of those teammates, former Australian captain Bill Lawry, paid tribute to the left-handed batsman’s remarkable career at the ceremony before helping Harvey to unveil his statue.
“Neil Harvey was the best captain I ever played under,” Lawry said.
“He was such a natural talent… He was a phenomenal fielder with a great arm and, as a batsman, he was something different. He was so quick on his feet and so neat… That’s the way he played his cricket. It was an honour to play with him.”
The statue by sculptor Lis Johnson is the fourth commissioned by the MCC as part of the Avenue of Legends series.
The Avenue of Legends will see a minimum of five statues placed in Yarra Park, extending from the MCC members entrance up an avenue towards Wellington Parade, with AFL footballers Norm Smith and John Coleman unveiled alongside Warne and Harvey.
Selection criteria for the Avenue of Legends dictates candidates must be Australian, renowned for their sportsmanship and that they or their sport played is connected with the MCG.