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England legends Hutton, Hobbs and Laker inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

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Three England legends were inducted today into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame* at the lunch interval of the fourth day of the final Ashes Test match between England and Australia at The Oval.

Representatives of Len Hutton, < span style="color: #ff0000;">Jack Hobbs and Jim Laker were awarded their commemorative caps as part of the joint venture between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA).

ICC President David Morgan presented Hobbs's cap to Surrey Chairman David Stewart and Hutton's cap to his son Richard and grandson Ben, while ICC Director and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Clarke presented a cap to Laker's grandchildren Jamie Harvey and Nicholas Marks.

Hutton represented England in 79 Test matches, amassing 6,971 Test runs at an average of 56.67, including 19 centuries and 33 half-centuries.

Despite being a Yorkshire player, Surrey's home ground has strong links with Hutton and it is particularly appropriate that he was inducted at The Oval. In 1938, Hutton scored what was then the highest-ever Test score of 364 against Australia. In that same year, Hutton was named Wisden Cricketer of Year for his heroics.

In 1952 against India, Hutton became England's first professional captain and he led a side that featured six other members of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - Peter May, Denis Compton, Tom Graveney, Alec Bedser, Fred Trueman and Laker.

The following year he led England to its first Ashes victory over Australia in 19 years. The year after, when in Australia, England retained the Ashes under Hutton's leadership. Since that series in 1953, only three other England captains have led their sides to Ashes victory in Australia.

Hutton played in 513 first-class matches, making 40,140 runs at an average of 55.51. He currently sits ninth in the list for the most first-class hundreds scored in a career - 129.

Richard, Hutton's son and a former Yorkshire player, and Hutton's grandson Ben received the award. Mr Richard said of receiving his father's commemorative cap: "My father used to say that if his mother had not thrown his football boots in the fire, he might have become as famous as Denis Compton. I hope that this award means he now has. The Oval is a very fitting place for the award to be made. Almost 71 years ago to the day he recorded what is still the highest individual score in Anglo-Australian Tests.

"Fifty-six years ago, he captained England in the recovery of the Ashes for the first time in more than 19 years. This was achieved despite losing all five tosses. In between, on this ground, he made his 100th century."

Hobbs was one of cricket's most prolific batsmen. He played 61 Test matches for England making 5,140 runs at an average of 56.94.

Hobbs's first-class record is also something of note. He scored 61,273 runs, including 197 centuriesǂ and to this day he still tops the record books for the most first-class centuries scored.

Half of Hobbs's centuries came when he was well over 40 years old, and at 46 he remains the oldest man to score a Test century when he did so against Australia in Melbourne in March 1929.

The Oval has a long history with Hobbs not only because he represented Surrey but because of his partnership with Herbert Sutcliffe in the 1926 Ashes series which helped England to regain the Ashes for the first time since 1912.

Hobbs became the first professional cricketer to be knighted in 1953, was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in both 1909 and 1926 and was one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Century in 2000.

Surrey chairman David Stewart, received Hobbs's cap and said of the occasion: "It is a great honour to receive this cap on behalf of a Surrey legend in the concluding Test of this fantastic Ashes series. Jack Hobbs was a great player who was appropriately known as ‘the Master'. He will be remembered as one of England's most prolific batsman."

The final induction of the day was that of another Surrey legend, Jim Laker. Laker represented England between 1948 and 1959 in 46 Test matches, claiming 193 wickets at an average of 21.24.

One of the most memorable moments of Laker's career came when facing Australia at Old Trafford in 1956, when the off-spinner took 19 wickets for 90 runs. He still tops the best bowling figures in a Test match, as well as first-class cricket, for any bowler after his first innings haul of 10-53 and his second of 9-37.

Another memorable wicket-haul for Laker was on his home ground when appearing for Surrey against an Australian XI when he took 10-53 to help his club beat the visitors by 10 wickets.

Laker's grandsons, Jamie Harvey and Nicholas Marks accepted the commemorative cap.

Mr Harvey said: "To be in the initial 55 inductees would have made Jim immensely proud. It would have been great if he was here to receive it in person but there is no doubt he would have been delighted with this award.

"I spent a lot of time with my grandfather who taught me to play cricket as early as 18 months old. I also used to sit on Jim's lap when he was commenting for television. To be named alongside Len Hutton, Jack Hobbs and of course the likes of Don Bradman would have made Jim very proud."

Mr Marks said: "I was too young to remember spending time with my grandfather but I did hit three sixes into the Laker stand in a schools competition here at The Oval. Our family is so proud of Jim's achievements and his 19-90 bowling record which has stood for over 50 years, will take some beating."

Ç‚ Two further centuries made on a private tour to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) were subsequently deemed first-class by the Association of Cricket Statisticans

The cap presentation ceremony is a key part of the celebrations to mark the ICC's centenary year as it acknowledges the greats of the game and the contributions they have made to ensure cricket is a great sport with a great spirit.

Other ICC Cricket Hall of Famers to have received their caps so far in 2009 are legendary New Zealand all-rounder Richard Hadlee, former Australian greats Rod Marsh, Ian Chappell, Allan Border, Neil Harvey and Richie Benaud, 12 former West Indies players or their family members or representatives - batting greats Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards and Rohan Kanhai, champion all-rounder Garfield Sobers, the three Ws Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell, opener Gordon Greenidge, fast bowlers Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Andy Roberts, and star off-spinner Lance Gibbs - also ex-South Africa batsmen Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, former Pakistan stalwarts Javed Miandad and Hanif Mohammad and England's Alec Bedser, Colin Cowdrey, Tom Graveney, Peter May, David Gower, Derek Underwood, Graham Gooch, Harold Larwood, Denis Compton, Frank Woolley and Sydney Barnes.

Further cap presentations will be made during the course of the year and a limited number of new inductees, in addition to the 55 already chosen, will be named at this year's LG ICC Awards.


*ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - initial inductees (55): Sydney Barnes, Bishan Bedi, Alec Bedser, Richie Benaud, Allan Border, Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Donald Bradman, Greg Chappell, Ian Chappell, Denis Compton, Colin Cowdrey, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Lance Gibbs, Graham Gooch, David Gower, WG Grace, Tom Graveney, Gordon Greenidge, Richard Hadlee, Walter Hammond, Neil Harvey, George Headley, Jack Hobbs, Michael Holding, Leonard Hutton, Rohan Kanhai, Imran Khan, Alan Knott, Jim Laker, Harold Larwood, Dennis Lillee, Ray Lindwall, Clive Lloyd, Hanif Mohammad, Rodney Marsh, Malcolm Marshall, Peter May, Javed Miandad, Keith Miller, Bill O'Reilly, Graeme Pollock, Wilfred Rhodes, Barry Richards, Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Garfield Sobers, Brian Statham, Fred Trueman, Derek Underwood, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Frank Woolley, Frank Worrell.