Melbourne, Feb 26: Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame (ACHoF) at the 2012 Allan Border Medal tomorrow night in Melbourne.
ACHoF chairman Mr David Crow today announced that Warne was the selection committee"s unanimous choice for induction in 2012.
The first cricketer to take 700 Test wickets, Warne is widely regarded as the greatest spinner – if not bowler – of all time. He was named as one of only five Wisden Cricketers of the Century in 2000.
"Shane Warne's contribution to cricket has been enormous," said Mr Crow. "He revived legspin, 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.
Shane Warne said he was surprised and delighted to be inducted into the ACHoF. He will fly from the USA to attend the ceremony in Melbourne on Monday evening. Speaking from New York City, he said: "To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is just a massive honour, and it makes me feel very proud. I'm glad I'm sharing this with my children and my family. When you look back, so many wonderful players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. To be mentioned in the same breath as some of those cricketers who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and to be inducted so soon after my international retirement, is a great privilege.
"I'm thinking about the Allan Border medals that I've attended and listened to people getting up and talking about these guys who played a long time ago and were wonderful cricketers. Watching some of these guys 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," Mr Warne added.
The ACHoF was first proposed by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in 1995 and officially opened in 1996. It is now located inside the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
With the support of Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria, 10 players were inducted at its official opening in 1996 and a further 25 have been welcomed since (see list over page).
The selection panel comprises MCC Cricket chairman Crow, former Test captains Bill Lawry and Richie Benaud, Australian Cricketers' Association Chief Executive Paul Marsh, Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland, MCC assistant to CEO Peter French (secretary), and media representatives Tim Lane, Gideon Haigh and Mike Coward.
Mr Crow said the committee had also resolved at its meeting in December to take into account players' 50-over and T20 performances in future, as well as review the guidelines to include female cricketers as possible future inductees. Furthermore, it formalised in the guidelines that players' performances both on and off the field will be taken into consideration in assessing their eligibility.