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Karen Rolton, Ricky Ponting and Norm O’Neill inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

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Former Australian captains Ricky Ponting and Karen Rolton and celebrated batsman Norm O’Neill will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame (ACHoF) at the 2018 Allan Border Medal in Melbourne on 12 February.

ACHoF chairman and Melbourne Cricket Club chairman of cricket, Peter King, today announced that O’Neill, Ponting, and Rolton were the selection committee’s choice for induction this year.

 

A trailblazer of women’s cricket and one of the finest cricketers Australia has produced, Karen Rolton was a crucial member of the Australian side throughout her 14-year international career. First breaking into the Australian side in 1995, Rolton’s powerful batting and handy bowling quickly made her an indispensable member of the team.

Appointed as vice-captain of the national side in 1997 and captain of the side from 2007 to 2009, Karen’s glittering career included two World Cup victories, first in 1997 and again in 2005, when she scored an unbeaten 107 to help her team to the title. A further highlight was her 209* in a 2001 Test against England, then a record high score in women’s Tests.

Chosen as the ICC’s inaugural Women’s Player of the Year in 2006, Rolton finished her international career with the most Test runs and the second most ODI runs of any Australian woman. Her induction into the ACHoF follows her addition to the ICC Hall of Fame in 2016.

Commenting on Karen Rolton’s induction, Peter King said: “Karen Rolton was a dominant left-hander who rightly takes her place in the top echelon of women’s cricket.  A former captain, she remains Australia’s leading female Test runscorer and sits alongside Belinda Clark on the list of one-day cricket run scorers. Karen’s ability to score quickly and make big scores during her 15-year career played a major part in many of Australia’s triumphs on the international stage.”

By the end of his international career, Ricky Ponting was the most capped Australian Test and ODI player and had served as captain for a record 324 matches across all formats, but these were just a few in a long list of records achieved over the course of his 17-year Australian career.

First coming into the Australian team in 1995 at the age of 20, Ponting’s ruthless and attacking batting style saw him quickly establish himself as a key figure in ODI and Test sides during a sustained period during which Australia dominated world cricket.

Taking on the ODI captaincy in 2002 and the Test captaincy two years later, Ponting led his side to 220 victories from 324 matches, including back-to-back ICC Cricket World Cup titles, and is the only player in the world to have been involved in 100 Test victories. His prolific run scoring helped him to amass the most runs and centuries in both Test and ODI cricket by an Australian and be awarded the Allan Border Medal on four occasions – 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009 (jointly with Michael Clarke).

Ponting’s contribution to the game has continued post his retirement from playing in the forms of coaching and commentating, both domestically and around the world. He is a member of the commentary team for Network Ten’s broadcast of the KFC Big Bash League, and is currently serving as an assistant coach to the Australian T20 international side in the Gillette T20 International Series against England and New Zealand following a similar stint with the T20 squad last summer and coaching experience in the Indian Premier League.

Reflecting on Ricky Ponting’s career, Mr. King said: “Ricky Ponting is unquestionably one of the finest Test and one-day cricketers Australia has produced.  An exceptional fieldsman, he has an outstanding record as a top-order batsman and captain, and was a key figure during a highly successful era in Australian cricket.  That only he and Sachin Tendulkar have scored more than 13,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket speaks volumes of his place in the game’s history.”

A prodigious batting talent, Norm O’Neill is best remembered for the exciting batting style he brought to the New South Wales and Australian sides he played for, epitomised by his 181 in Australia’s first innings of the historic Tied Test against the West Indies in 1960.

Following impressive performances in Sheffield Shield cricket in the preceding years, O’Neill earned national representative honours for the 1958-59 Ashes series and was a member of the Test side until 1965. His performances during the 1961 Ashes tour were another highlight of his career, with his 324 runs at 40.50 during the series seeing him named as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1962.

Becoming a regular radio commentator upon his retirement from cricket, O’Neill – who passed away in 2008 – was described aptly by his captain, Richie Benaud, as “one of the greatest entertainers we’ve had in Australian cricket”.

Of Norm O’Neill, Mr. King said: “Norm O’Neill was a stylish and entertaining batsman, particularly strong off the back foot, who was capable of taking the game away from the opposition on his day.  He made his Test debut at the tender age of 21, and is well remembered for his century in the 1960/61 Tied Test just two years later. Possessed with a strong throwing arm, he was an exceptional cover fieldsman and a handy leg-spinner.”