'Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to join such an illustrious group of players'
Australia's World Cup-winning all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on Sunday, along with South African Jacques Kallis and Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas.
India-born Sthalekar is the first woman cricketer to achieve the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in one-day Internationals.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would ever get to join such an illustrious group of players," the 41-year-old said after joining former team mates Belinda Clark, Karen Rolton and Cathryn Fitzpatrick in that list.
The flamboyant spin-bowling all-rounder was a key member of four Would Cup-winning Australia squads.
Kallis is the fourth South African player in the list, having retired as the only player to score 10,000-plus runs and claim 250-plus wickets in both test and ODI cricket.
"I certainly did not play the game for any accolades or anything like that, I only wanted to win the games for whoever I was playing for," Kallis said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"But it is nice to be recognised when one has succeeded in the sport...:" said the 44-year-old who remains South Africa's leading test run scorer.
The only Asian cricketer to have scored 100 first-class hundreds, 73-year-old Abbas is the sixth cricketer from Pakistan to get the honour.
"I feel privileged and truly humbled to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame of the class of 2020. I am excited to be in the midst of other illustrious cricketers," Abbas said in the ICC statement.
So far 93 players have been inducted in the Hall of Fame under the current system wherein retired players become eligible five years after playing their last international match.
Former ICC Cricket Hall of Famers formed the majority of the adjudicating panel with representation from the media, ICC and Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA).
Gavaskar, who himself was inducted into the elite club in 2009, spoke highly of Kallis.
"He is a colossus. The word fits him like a glove. No praise is too high for this colossus. Very well deserved to be in this ICC Hall of Fame," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar was also all praise for Sthalekar.
"It is good to have another 'Kar' in the ICC Hall of Fame. Well done. You are an inspiration, not just in Australia also in India (as she was born there).
"You have interacted with many cricketers in India including the junior cricketers. You have shown with your feistiness that women can play at the highest level."
Sthalekar represented Australia in eight Tests, 125 ODIs and 54 T20s.
Gavaskar was ‘delighted’ for Zaheer Abbas.
"Absolutely delighted. No one deserves it more than him. Don't know why it took so long but better late than ever. When you saw him bat, even when it was your team's expense, you enjoyed his batting," said Gavaskar
"His class made you enjoy. His hunger for big runs stood out. I am very happy to call him a friend," he added.
Abbas played 78 Tests and 62 ODIs for Pakistan, accumulating 5062 and 2572 runs respectively. He averaged over 40 in both the formats.