Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on Thursday during the innings break of the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy clash between Sri Lanka and India at The Oval.
Muralitharan, who became the first Sri Lankan to receive the honour was accompanied by Arthur Morris, George Lohmann and Karen Rolton.
Overall, the 45-year-old went on the books as the 83rd player to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame with ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson presenting him with a commemorative framed cap.
Thanking ICC for the recognition, Muralitharan described it as a huge honour.
“It is a moment of great pride and honour to be receiving this award, especially from the ICC which is the ultimate any cricketer can aspire to achieve. The induction during this prestigious ICC Champions Trophy makes it even more remarkable.
“I thank the ICC for making this possible because this is a moment I will cherish throughout life.”
Muralitharan, who is still the leading wicket-taker in both Tests and One-Day Internationals has a overall tally of 1334 wickets in both the formats combined and held the pole position in ICC Test Rankings for bowlers for 1,711 days - the most for any player.
The veteran off-spinner retired from the longer format of the game in 2010 after the first Test against India where he went on reach the 800 wickets - the only player to do so. His retirement in the ODI format came following the conclusion of the 2011 World Cup where Sri Lanka went on to lose the final against India.
Richardson lauded the contribution made by Muralitharan, who was a member of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lankan squad.
“Murali’s record speaks for itself. His control of line, pace and length coupled with his ability to spin the ball prodigiously are legendary. Once he developed the “doosra” he became almost unplayable.
“A character popular with fellow players and fans alike, he not only helped raise the profile of Sri Lankan cricket but was a player people came out to watch the world over. I congratulate him on behalf of the ICC on being inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.”
© Cricket World 2017