On the Front Foot: No place for Barrington in Hall of Fame as arguments run and run

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The Independent Online

In announcing, hardly before time, the establishment of a Hall of Fame, the International Cricket Council were courting controversy. Since the ICC's whole existence is controversial, this is fully in keeping, but the 55 cricketers named as initial inductees this week will merely continue that process. Nobody could argue with any of the names, agreed with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, but there are eyebrow-raising omissions. Although England are well represented with 22 players, there is no room for the two men who have their highest Test batting averages, Herbert Sutcliffe and Ken Barrington. Similarly, while the left-arm spin of Derek Underwood is rightly recognised, that of Hedley Verity is not. West Indies rightly have 13 players but Australia (11), India and Pakistan (3 each), South Africa (2) and New Zealand (1) might feel under-represented. The list appears unfairly skewed towards players who appeared in the latter half of the 20th century. There is a sprinkling of names from long ago, but pioneers of Test cricket whose efforts led indirectly to the formation of the ICC in 1909 are wilfully ignored. There is not one player from the inaugural Test between England and Australia, and only W G Grace and Wilfred Rhodes from those who played in the 1800s. The Edwardian era, the so-called Golden Age, is distinctly under-represented. This will run and run.

Barry passes the test

One of the two South Africans in the Hall of Fame is Barry Richards. Not bad for a player who won only four Test caps before his country was banished from international sport because of its apartheid policy. Or could it be that Richards has been rewarded also because of his outstanding performance in World Series Cricket, the breakaway tournament which could have led to the dismantling of conventional cricket, and the ICC? Richards, who played only seven Test innings, scoring 508 runs, was rampant for the Rest of the World XI in WSC, where he averaged 79.14 in its two seasons.

Mahela reaches milestone

Mahela Jayawardene, the dignified captain of Sri Lanka, yesterday became the 48th Test cricketer, and fourth from his country, to play 100 Tests. It is obviously not the achievement it was, but remains a significant landmark. It has taken Jayawardene a little more than 11 years to get there. Colin Cowdrey, the first to 100 caps, took 20 years.

Chuck throwing into mix

A reunion took place in Sydney this week to markthe 50th anniversary of Australia's overwhelming win in the 1958-59 Ashes. The nine surviving members from the 16 who played were there. One wonders how long it took for the talk to get round to chucking. The series and the Australian victory were marred by allegations that three players – Ian Meckiff, Keith Slater and Gordon Rorke – had dodgy actions.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

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