By Dale Brown
NEW YORK, NY. Monday, October 4, 2021 – The Cricket Hall of Fame (CHoF), first in the world, established in 1981, celebrated its 40th Anniversary with an Induction ceremony held on Saturday, October 2, 2021, in Boca Raton, Florida.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID 19 pandemic, the in-person ceremony, attended by some 200 guests, was a resounding success, highlighted by the heartwarming acceptance speeches by the inductees.
And, in what was regarded as one of the best responses of the evening, Godfrey Blair recalled his playing days as a youngster at Lucas Cricket Club, Kingston, Jamaica, and going on to represent Team USA.
O’Neil Gordon ‘Collie’ Smith, who died tragically at aged 26 years in 1959, at the prime of his career, was remembered as a player whose name represented the preeminence of an excellent character. He remains one of the most important cricketers to emerge out of Jamaica.
The late hotelier Gordon’ Butch’ Stewart was also remembered and recognized for his sterling contribution to the sport as a corporate partner through sponsorship of West Indies cricket with his global brand Sandals Resorts.
Hall of Famer Mahammad Qureshi, President/CEO of Cricket Council USA (CCUSA), accepted the CHoF Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the sport from Michael Chambers, Founder/Executive Director of the Hall, and pledged to continue promoting the development of the sport in the USA.
The 2021 Class of Inductees were; Lyndel Wright, Godfrey Blair, Edgar Samuels, Max Diah, Surujlal “Joe” Siewharack, Jyostna Patel, Rev. Ouida McDonald, John Tyrell Hodgson, Vinode Mamchan, with posthumous recognition to; Gordon “Butch” Stewart, O’Neil Gordon “Collie” Smith and Cecil Dixon.
Executive Director Michael Chambers performed the Induction rites and made special mention of Jatin Patel, the 2020 inductee – a renowned multi-sports coach and the first person of Indian descent appointed to the Board of Directors of the Cricket Hall Fame. Chambers also announced that inductees are now permitted to use the post-nominal initials’ CHoF’, placed after their name to further the institution’s recognition.
Closure To The August 2020 Induction Ceremony
Earlier, five individuals approved for induction with the Class of 2020 requested an exemption because the ceremony was being held virtually due to the COVID 19 pandemic and favored an in-person event.
The ceremony was held at the elegant Antun’s Banquet Hall in Queens, NYC, on Saturday, August 28. 2021.
The inductees granted special consideration were; Joseph Allen, Zamin Amin, Wesley King, Lee Ramsay, and Martin Maher, the Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner/NYC.
The gala event also recognized the enormous contribution to cricket by the legendary Test cricketer and Barbados’ only living national hero, Sir Garfield Sobers, honoring him with the Cricket Hall of Fame’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Younis Khan, the legendary Pakistani cricketer, headlined the NY Induction ceremony. Younis Khan is the only Pakistani Test cricketer to date to score 10,000 runs and his 34 Test centuries is the highest among players from his country in that format.
In a congratulatory message to the Hall of Fame, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “Since its founding in 1981, the Cricket Hall of Fame has been invaluable in advancing the ideals of friendly competition, teamwork, and tenacity through programs that, promote the sport, while working to give back to communities and improve the quality of life for people of all backgrounds.”
Chief Executive Officer of USA Cricket Iain Higgins noted, “Inductees into the Cricket Hall of Fame are an elite group of individuals who stand tall in the sport. USA Cricket is pleased and privileged to help acknowledge their invaluable contributions.”
As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations, the CHoF partnered with CCUSA to stage the inaugural Legends (Over 50) World Cup T20 tournament at the Central Broward Regional Stadium, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from September 27 – 30.
Four teams participated – West Indies Stars, Pakistan, USA Stars, India Stars – with West Indies Stars, captained by Zamin Amin, CHoF, defeating India Stars by 53 runs in the finals.