One of the most elegant batsmen of his time, Zaheer Abbas on Sunday hoped his induction into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame inspires a generation of talented cricketers to play for Pakistan.
Hailed as the 'Asian Bradman', former Pakistan captain Abbas was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame alongside legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis and former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar.
"I feel elated to get this honour, but more than me, it is an honour for my country and I just want to see that it inspires a generation of talented batsmen for the national team," Abbas said.
The 73-year-old has been selected by a jury made up of current ICC Hall of Famers and prominent journalists.
The ICC Hall of Fame includes 27 Australia cricketers, 28 England players, six India cricketers, three from New Zealand, four from South Africa, one Sri Lankan and 18 players from the West Indies.
Abbas, who has also remained honorary president of the ICC, is the sixth Pakistani cricketer to enter the Hall of Fame after Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) lauded its former captain with board chairman, Ehsan Mani, leading the way.
"It is a matter of great honour and pride for Pakistan that Zaheer Abbas's outstanding career achievements have been acknowledged by the game's governing body.
"It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate Zed on behalf of millions of Pakistan cricket fans across the world for this recognition," Mani said.
Abbas played 78 Tests and 62 ODIs for Pakistan, accumulating 5062 and 2572 runs respectively. He averaged over 40 in both the formats.
He is the only player from Asia to have scored at least a 100 first-class hundreds and the first one to score three successive ODI hundreds.
"It is appropriate that Zaheer be inducted into the elite group exactly 46 years after his magnificent 240 against England at The Oval in his 15th Test, which was his second double-century following the famous 274 at Edgbaston in 1971 in only his second Test," Mani said.
"He would go on to score 235 not out and 215 against India (1978 and 1982) and every innings was a treat to watch and matched the other," he added.