Legendary Victorian spinner Shane Warne became just the 35th player inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame last night during the Allan Border Medal function at Crown Casino.
Named one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the 20th century, the 42-year-old, who single handedly revived the art of leg-spin bowling, retired from the international arena in 2007 with a world-record 708 Test wickets, as well as the ‘ball of the century’ to dismiss England’s Mike Gatting at Manchester in 1993.
During his time with the Bushrangers, Warne claimed 161 wickets in 46 first-class matches including eight five-wicket hauls.
The international stage, however, was where he shone brightest.
“When you look back, so many wonderful players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Warne, who felw back from New York for the occasion, said.
“To be mentioned in the same breath as some of those cricketers who have already been inducted, and to be inducted so soon after my international retirement, is a great privilege.
”Watching some of these guys (as I was) growing up, and as kids pretending I was one of them with my brother in the backyard.
”To be joining such a small company is something I’m very proud of.”
A nine-man committee, which included former captains Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry, voted unanimously to induct the champion bowler into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, deeming Warne’s on-field deeds as worthy of him joining an honour roll that includes Don Bradman, Victor Trumper, Steve Waugh and Benaud.
“Shane Warne’s contribution to cricket has been enormous,” Hall of Fame chairman David Crow said.
”He revived leg-spin, combining accuracy with variety and enormous turn, even on unhelpful pitches.
”It was the timing of his performances – in addition to his sheer weight of wickets – that further underlined his legendary status.
”Beyond his phenomenal record, Shane Warne changed the way cricket was played and has inspired a new generation of cricketers worldwide to take up the challenging craft of spin bowling.”