Till Thursday night South Africa only had two inductees in ICC’s hall of fame. Both the cricketers were from the apartheid era and their immense talent went unnoticed as Proteas were barred from playing international cricketer.
Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards were batsmen par excellence which was the reason the two got inducted into ICC’s Hall of Fame in 2009, the year ICC’s launched it.
On Friday Allan Donald happened to be the third man and first bowler from South Africa to make it to the elite club. Also, he is the first post-apartheid era’s South African to be bestowed with this honor.
“Donald, known as the ‘White Lightning’, was arguably South Africa’s fastest bowler ever and finished with 330 Test and 272 ODI wickets. He is one of the players credited with South Africa’s success in the game after their return to international cricket in 1991,” wrote ICC in their official mailer.
ICC paid rich tribute to Donald on twitter as well, “One of the fiercest and fiercest fast bowlers of all time, Allan Donald did as much as anyone to establish South Africa as a cricketing force to be reckoned with after isolation,” ICC posted on their twitter handle.
Speaking to ICC after the ceremony he said, “The biggest shock when you open an e-mail like that - it says congratulations Allan Donald, you have been inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame! It hits you, it hits you quite hard because it is a prestigious award and something that you can’t take lightly. I thank the ICC for the huge honor.”
Donald got nostalgic and spoke about the people who played a significant role in making his career a success.
“It all immediately takes you back to where you started. The reflection is of such a nature that everything that you have done in your career since you were a little boy starts to creep into your head. There are so many people to thank who have influenced my life – as mentors, as coaches.”
“If I start with Free State cricket back in the day, then the legendary Hansie Cronje’s dad Mr Ewie Cronje, helped me through school and college cricket and then there was my uncle Des Donald who was very hard on me. Bob Woolmer was a mentor, we clicked in international cricket and he showed me the road to success,” the former paceman said.
(With Inputs from HT)