Melbourne: Former fast bowler Merv Hughes has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the country’s board (CA) said on Tuesday.
Among cricket’s most recognisable players ever thanks to his iconic moustache, menacing run-up and ferocious fast bowling, Hughes played 53 Tests and 33 one-day internationals for Australia in the 1980s and ‘90s.
The lion-hearted quick took 212 Test wickets at an average of 28.38, and a further 38 wickets at 29.34 in ODIs.
“To come in alongside some of the names that are in there is overwhelming and I’m a little bit emotional. Now 26 years after I finished playing, to still be recognised, it has blown me away. It’s very humbling,” Hughes said.
The former pacer is perhaps best remembered for a sensational 8 for 87 against the West Indies at the WACA, Perth in 1988. One of those eight wickets came in a hat-trick spread across two innings and three overs.
Hughes achieved his feat after losing bowling partner Geoff Lawson to a broken jaw underscored his ability to hold a bowling attack together.
His greatest series performance came in the 1993 Ashes, claiming 31 wickets at 27.25 to help Australia win the six-match series 4-1.
A Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1994, Hughes also represented Victoria, Essex, and the ACT and post his playing career transitioned into cricket administration, serving as the national team’s selector between 2005 and 2010.
“Merv Hughes was an icon of the Australian summer for so many of us, a larger-than-life personality, a wonderful international cricketer, an ambassador for the sport and a deserved inductee into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame,” Peter King, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Chairman, said in a statement.
“He has left his legacy on the sport in post-career mentorship with modern-day teams, administration roles as a National Selector and the heartbeat of Australian cricket. The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is delighted to recognise Merv Hughes,” he added.
Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia Chair, said: “He gave everything he had to try and help his team to win, coupled with his enthusiastic theatrics on the pitch and his love for the game he will always be warmly remembered as the big-hearted fast-bowler and larrikin who demolished batting line-ups all over the world.
“I couldn’t think of a more well-deserved inductee into the Australian Cricket Hall of fame, who now joins an elite group of individuals who have given so much to the game we all love,” he added. (UNI)