Cricket: Notable omissions from Cricket's Hall of Fame

What! No Victor Trumper? And how was the Demon - Fred Spofforth - left out?

Earlier this week the ICC took the long overdue step of establishing a Hall of Fame.

Among the 55 initial inductees were all the blindingly obvious names like Don Bradman, WG Grace, Garfield Sobers and Viv Richards.

Our own Richard Hadlee made it - the only New Zealander to do so.

The other three great all-rounders of his era - Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Kapil Dev - were also included.

The modern day greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Adam Gilchrist and Muttiah Muralitharan all miss selection.

It was no snub. In time, no doubt, all of those players will be included. Perhaps in the next intake.

Warne is one of the first players, after Bradman that is, most people would pick in an all time world XI, as is Gilchrist.

Most of the 55 inductees rightly deserve to be regarded among the best to have played the game.

But there are a couple of surprise omissions. Trumper and Spofforth conspicuous by their absence.

Spofforth is widely considered one of the best test bowlers of the 19th century.

The Australian was a fabulous athlete who once ran the 100 yards in a blistering quick time of 10.2sec.

In 1881 that was a New South Wales' residents' record.

His test record stacks up as one of the best in the history of the game and had he played more games he would have most certainly made the Hall of Fame.

In 18 tests the Demon took 94 wickets at an average of 18.41. He also picked up seven five-wicket bags and took 10 wickets in a match four times.

A confusing mix of pace, flight and spin, Spofforth started out as a tearaway fast bowler but varied his pace after being influenced by the likes of slow-medium Alfred Shaw and off-spinner James Southerton.

He took test cricket's first hat-trick at the MCG in 1880, and two years later helped Australia achieve one of its most notable victories.

Spofforth took 14 wickets for 90 runs at the Oval to guide Australia to victory over England.

The next day the a mock obituary was published and the story of the Ashes born.

How Spofforth was left out, given the extraordinary part he played in the history of the game, defies belief.

Likewise for one of Australia's most loved cricketers, Victor Trumper. Trumper was an audacious, dashing and brilliant batsman who mastered every shot in the book and some that text could not describe.

The raw statistics to not do justice to his artistry - in 48 tests he scored 3126 runs at 39.05, including eight 100s.

A good career but not extraordinary by any means. But those who saw him play, and played against him, talk of him in awe.

He always played the game at his tempo and was never dominated by conditions or the bowlers.

He was just as likely to smack a good length ball to the boundary as a full or short pitched delivery.

His most famous innings was his 104 at Old Trafford in 1902, when he became the first to score a century before lunch on the first day of a test.

With today's super bats, small boundaries and covered pitches, there is no imagining what he might have been able to achieve.

Like Spofforth, there should have been room for Trumper in the Hall of Fame.

Perhaps Ian Chappell and Rod Marsh could give up their spots for their countrymen. Both Chappell and Marsh had sterling test careers.

Chappell was a clever captain and gritty middle order batsman who scored 5345 runs at 42.42 in 75 tests.

It is a fine record but Chappell's deeds are neither special nor that memorable.

Marsh effected 355 dismissals in 96 tests and chipped in more than 3500 runs at 26.51.

He combined with fast bowler Dennis Lillee for 95 dismissals and was certainly one of the characters of the game.

Wicketkeepers do not tend to be that memorable unless you are Adam Gilchrist, and their contributions often get overlooked.

But was Marsh any better than England's Godfrey Evans, who took 46 stumpings, West Indian Jeffrey Dujon, India's Syed Kirmani or even fellow Australian Ian Healy?

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