Zimbabwe's Andy Flower became the first man from his country to be inducted in the The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame this year. Alongside him, was another legendary wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara from the Sri Lanka, who found his name on the illustrious list of inductees. The Hall of Fame, which was launched on January 2, 2009, celebrates and recognises the fine achievements of such legends who have made significant contributions to the game. In this article, we will talk about these two legendary keeper-batsmen from the modern era.
MODERN CRICKET ERA (1996-2015)
Andy Flower is one of the rarest gems that Zimbabwe cricket could produce. He is a fine combination of leadership qualities, wicket-keeping abilities and batting prowess.
Flower played 63 Tests, scoring 4,794 runs at an average of 51.54.
There had been times, especially in 2000-2001, when he was ranked No. 1 in the world, even ahead of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Bria Lara in Test cricket.
Flower, not only led the Zimbabwe side with conviction, he was brilliant behind the wickets too. He took 151 catches with nine stumpings. It is his contribution to the game that has made him the first Zimbabwe player to be inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame.
Flower made his ODI debut in 1992 against Sri Lanka, the first World Cup match of the year. He opened the batting and scored a fine unbeaten 115, becoming the third batsman ever to score a century on his ODI debut.
Flower carried his country's batting for long periods, setting the record for the highest Test score by a wicketkeeper with an innings of 232 not out against India at Nagpur in 2000.
Later, he became a hugely successful coach, leading England to the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings for men.
Watch Flower's fine innings of 145 against India
(Video hosted by World Cricket Highlights)
Another legendary wicket-keeper-batsman to be inducted this year is Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka. Sangakkara played 134 Tests, scored 12,400 runs at an average of 57.40, took 182 catches and effected 20 stumpings. In ODIs too, his stats are exceptional. In 404 ODIs, he has scored 14,234 runs, averaging 41.98, and took 402 catches alongside 99 stumpings. The left-handed batsman's x-factor was rooted in his graceful batting.
Sangakkara ended his career in 2015 as the most prolific run-scorer his country has ever known, with double-hundreds flowing from his bat with consummate ease. A prolific No. 3 batsman for his team, Sangakkara became the equal fastest man to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.
In 2014 he struck 319 and 105 in the same Test match against Bangladesh, and in 2017, he fell just 16 runs short of striking six successive centuries in first-class cricket.
Sangakkara was acknowledged for his tremendous contribution in world cricket as he was felicitated with the ICC People's choice award and ODI men's cricketer of the year award in 2011. In 2012, too, he had a terrific time in the awards ceremony, as he received Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for being the ICC cricketer of the year. He also bagged the people's choice award and Test cricketer of the year award that year.
Watch Sangakkara’s 105 against India from Commonwealth Bank Series
(Video hosted by cricket.com.au)