Legendary Australian batter Belinda Clark has been immortalised at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) after a bronze statue of hers was unveiled at the stadium’s Walk of Honour, making her the first female cricketer to get a sculpture.
It was revealed for the first time ahead of the second day of the third and final Test between Australia and South Africa on Thursday.
The news that Clark would get a statue was announced back in early 2021 and was hailed as a welcome step, with 73 statues of male cricketers in existence in the country at that point. But the identity of the player was only revealed on Thursday.
She is a World Cup-winning skipper, having won the titles in 1997 and 2005. Besides this, she has also been a prolific run scorer and key figure in the off-field development of cricket in country. She was selected for the honour from a field of potential candidates including the first Test captain Margaret Peden and legendary all-rounder Betty Wilson.
She is the 15th member of SCG’s sculpture project and has joined champion sprinters Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Matthews as the third female to get her statue. The other two athletes have their likenesses positioned in front of the Allianz Stadium.
Cathy Weiszmann, a reputed New South Wales artist created the statue.
“I am excited to have the sculpture in place and for people to now look at it and perhaps wonder what that is, who that is and to be able to tell a bit of a story is really important,” Clark said as quoted by cricket.com.au.
“The sculpture encapsulates being able to have a go-to be courageous, to take on those challenges and break convention.”
“I want people to take away that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it and you have good people around you, and I think I have been very fortunate to have had great support and have a bit of an imagination to take my game where I wanted to take it, and hopefully the sport is in a better place for it,” he added.
She is a right-handed opener born in Newcastle and a prolific accumulator. She was given the reins of the Australian cricket team at the age of 23 and led the nation for 12 years during a golden period of the sport until she retired in 2005, with two World Cup titles under her belt.
Clark is the highest-run scorer in ODI cricket when it comes to Australian women cricket, having scored 4,844 runs in 118 ODIs at an average of 47.49, with five tons and 30 fifties. In 15 Tests she played for her country, she made 919 runs at an average of 45.95, with two tons and six fifties.
In 1997, she became the first-ever person to score a double hundred in ODIs, smashing 229 off 155 balls against Denmark. She was later named as Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year.
As the chief executive of Women’s Cricket Australia, she had a significant role in merging of the body with the Australian Cricket Board, that helped combine administration of men’s and women’s games.
Following her retirement, she played a key role in her 15-year-long career as a Cricket Australia administrator, focusing on grassroots cricket and national teams, before leaving the organisation in late 2020.
SCG Chairman Tony Shepherd said that her statue was deliberately chosen to be the main entry to the members area to put her alongside two of the best male captains, Richie Benaud and Steve Waugh.
The SCG Trusts’ Sports Sculpture Project began more than a decade back. Clark’s sculpture was created in consultation with Cricket Australia’s Recognition of Women in Cricket working group. Addressing the imbalance in public recognition of women’s cricket has been a key priority of this working group, which was formed in 2021. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.