One of the most influential figures in Australian cricket was given the highest honour possible on the sport's night of nights.
Bill Lawry, a champion on the field and a character off it, was finally inducted into the Australian cricket hall of fame at the Allan Border Medal earlier tonight. And that massive nose he somehow carries around with him every second of the day was up and about as usual when he accepted the prestigious award.
Former Australian captain, and longtime friend, Ian Chappell, introduced Lawry before he accepted his award. He emphasised that sometimes Lawry's achievements on the field seem to go unnoticed. Chappell made mention of his formidable defence and how he was "one of the most difficult batsmen to dismiss" throughout his playing career.
Lawry epitomised the role of the opening batsmen. He played 67 test matches over a careespanning a decade. The left-handed batsmen scored 5234 runs at an average of 47.15 which included 13 centuries, with a highest score of 210 against the West Indies in Bridgetown. That is an amazing record for a batsmen who played during the 1960's.
He was a phenomenal captain as well. He used to say that if opposition captain's made it tough for him to score when he batted, he had every right to return the favour. He was tenacious as a captain, but his reign came to an abrupt end when the public found out about his sacking before he did.
It was interesting to hear about the non-appearance of Lawry's wife during his acceptance speech. Around the time when Lawry played for his country, the wife's and girlfriends were treated appallingly by the Australian Cricket Board. Ever since then, Lawry's wife has refused to support Australian cricket and attend such functions.
But most of us would probably know Bill for his outstanding commentary for Channel 9. He has this ability to bring an awe of excitement to the broadcast and always provides entertainment when he has the microphone. Lawry's commentary when Shane Watson scored his maiden test century at the MCG late last year showed that he can not only entertain an audience, but he can also make intelligent calls and give great insight into the game he loves so much.
Lawry's induction into the Australian cricket hall of fame was truly deserved and a long time in the making. Well done Bill, may there be many more wonderful years of commentary to come.
BTW, great effort by Shane Watson to take out the 2009/10 Allan Border Medal. An emotional Watson thanked selectors, teammates and phyiso staff for their patience with him. He has worked so hard to get to where he is today and all that has finally payed off. Watson will only get better with experience, so expect bigger things from the blonde bombshell.