The Free State cricketing great, Allan Donald, became just the third player from South Africa to receive the sport’s highest recognition when he was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame at a gala evening at the famous Madame Tussauds in London on Thursday evening. The batsmen, Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards, are the only South Africans to have received the same recognition.
The fiery fast bowler Donald was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with India’s greatest player of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, and the former Australia Women’s fast bowler, Cathryn Fitzpatrick.
During his career as an international cricketer, Donald became the first South African to take 300 Test wickets, as well as 200 One-Day International wickets. It was somewhat fitting that Donald claimed his 300th Test wicket in Bloemfontein during the first Test against New Zealand in November, 2000. Donald trapped Shayne O’Connor LBW for 15 runs in the 19th over of the innings to become just the 15th bowler in Test history to achieve the milestone. This was sadly also the second and last Test Donald got to play on his home ground.
Speaking to Bloemfontein Courant, Donald said there were various people who influenced his career, but the one person who made the biggest difference was his uncle Des.
“Being inducted takes you right back to where it all started and who you started it with. Where you came from, the people who had an amazing influence on your life. The likes of Ewie Cronjé and Arthur Turner, who were very good administrators, and people who made a huge difference and contribution. There were people like Ian Barr, who is a Free State man through-and-through. You will never forget them and the guys you played with back in the day for Free State and Free State Schools. Johan Volsteedt was another influential figure, but the one person I really have to single out, is my uncle Des.
“He showed me the ropes, he toughened me up and also took me to uncomfortable places. But, he also realised that I had an immense talent. I had to figure it out for myself in a way, but he was the start of it all really.
“Having a family member there, who was close to me and taking me under his wing, was special.” White Lightning, as he was affectionately known, made his full international debut at the age of 25 on 10 November 1991 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, during South Africa’s first ever ODI after international isolation. Donald did not get to bat in that match. However, he made a massive statement by recording South Africa’s first ODI fiver by dismissing Ravi Shastri, Navjot Sidhu, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sachin Tendulkar and Pravin Amre to returning figures of 29/5 in 8.4 overs.
His Test debut was in April 1992 in that historic Test against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados. In the first innings he dismissed his eventual Free State teammate, Jimmy Adams for 11, and David Williams for 1. In the second innings he claimed the prized scalp of Brian Lara for 64, as well as Keith Arthurton for 22, Curtly Ambrose for 6 and Kenny Benjamin for 7. Donald played his final Test against Australia at the Wanderers in Johannesburg in February, 2002.
He finished his career with 330 wickets in 72 Tests, and 272 wickets in 164 ODIs. He also boasts with 1216 first class wickets, 684 List A wickets and 2 T20 wickets.