Pioneering figure of Women’s Cricket in India, Diana Edulji created history by becoming the first Indian woman to be inducted into the prestigious ICC (International Cricket Council) Hall of Fame. Following a voting process conducted among existing Hall of Famers, media representatives and senior executives from FICA and the ICC, Diana Edulji was among the three new names (the other two being Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva and India’s Virender Sehwag), which were added to the prestigious list of legends that comprise the ICC Hall of Fame, as the Class of 2023.
All three legends were felicitated at a very special presentation ceremony held on 15th November, 2023, at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium which completely packed with over 35,000 cricket enthusiasts who had come to witness the Men’s World Cup Cricket semi-finals between India and New Zealand. Brilliant tributes were paid by all-time cricketing greats, even as cricketing legend – Sir Vivian Richards presented the commemorative ICC Hall of Fame Cap to Diana Edulji and the others.
Edulji’s unparalleled legacy comprises a 17-year international playing career and her pioneering role in establishing the most successful domestic team in Indian women’s cricket history. Speaking on the momentous occasion, ICC’s Hall of Fame Inductee number 111, Diana Edulji, shared in a media statement, “At the outset, I would like to thank the ICC and the jury for having selected me to be inducted in the ICC Hall Of Fame 2023. It indeed is a great honour to be the first Indian women’s cricketer to be inducted and join a galaxy of cricketers, male and female from across the world. I am delighted to be considered for this award. It’s not only a proud moment for me, my family and friends but also for BCCI and Indian Women’s Cricket.”
Undoubtedly India’s first great woman cricketer, Diana trailblazed as a right-handed batter and slow left-arm bowler. She has represented India in three ICC Women’s Cricket World Cups, captaining two – in 1978 and 1993, and taking 14 wickets in the latter tournament! She struck a half-century in just her second Test, and her best bowling figures were 6-64 against Australia, at Delhi, eight years later. Diana played 54 international matches, taking 109 wickets and scoring 615 runs. These included 20 Tests (404 runs and 63 wickets, at an average of 25.77; and 34 ODIs (211 runs, 46 wickets at an average of 16.84).
She made as big an impact on the field as she did off the field and as an administrator with Western Railways, working diligently to increase employment opportunities for talented women cricketers in India, and helping shape the sports policy of Western and Indian Railways. In 1984, she convinced the Railway Minister to field a women’s cricket team, and subsequently Railways became the most successful side in Indian women’s cricket. She won 11 national titles for Railways to add to the three she had previously won with Mumbai. When Diana retired, after the 1993 World Cup, she stood at number one worldwide for bowling the most deliveries, and the second woman cricketer to take the most wickets in all forms of international cricket.