Cricket Australia inducted the first Indigenous player into the Hall of Fame, naming star player Johnny Mullagh, a man from Jardwadjali from West Victoria, as this year’s recipient of the Grand Honor.
Mullagh was the top player on the 1868 Aboriginal team which became Australia’s first sports team to tour internationally.
Cricket Australia said in a statement that Mullagh was one of the best players of his time, highlighted by taking 245 wickets to 10 and scoring 1698 points at 23.65 on this inaugural tour. Mullagh played in 45 of the 47 games played during the tour.
“Johnny Mullagh and the Aboriginal team of 1868 paved the way for so many future Australians to show their skills and talents on the world stage,” said Peter King, chairman of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
“Considering that the team’s achievements were at a time dictated by inequality makes their history even more remarkable and worthy of recognition.
“The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is proud to honor Johnny Mullagh for his contribution to cricket history and to Australia’s national identity.”
Born Unaarrimin, Mullagh played in the third ever scheduled cricket match at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866. This year will see the introduction of the Mullagh player of the match medal in the Boxing Day Test.
Cricket Australia claims the prize is a recreation of the original belt buckle worn by the 1868 team, chosen because of Mullagh’s close connection to the MCG.
Nick Hockley, Acting CEO of Cricket Australia, said that “the story of Mullagh and the 1868 team is one of resilience and triumph”.
“The accomplishments of the 1868 Aboriginal Cricket team 152 years ago are truly inspiring, and we thank and recognize all of the descendants of the 1868 team who continue to work with Cricket Australia to bring this incredible story to life” , Hockley said.
“We hope that by celebrating their accomplishments we can find more descendants linked to this remarkable Australian history and continue to recognize their valued place in Australian cricket.”
The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was first offered by the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1995.
With the support of Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria, the Hall of Fame was officially opened by then Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 1996.
The Hall of Fame’s selection philosophy focuses on the status of players as legends of the sport in addition to their outstanding statistical records.
The Selection Panel is made up of representatives from all levels of cricket. Chaired by the current president of MCC Cricket, three former players are joined by the respective CEOs of Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricket ‘Association, as well as two representatives from the media.
All inductees must have been retired from international cricket for at least five years to be eligible for selection.
For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter in click here!