Johnny Mullagh, who played on the 1868 Aboriginal team that was Australia’s first to tour England, became the first indigenous inductee into the country’s cricket Hall of Fame on Monday.
Mullagh took 245 wickets at an average of 10.00 and scored 1,698 runs at 23.65 in 45 matches during the 47-match tour. Hall of Fame chairman Peter King said the selection panel had modified its criteria to allow Mullagh to be inducted given he never represented Australia in Tests.
Born ‘Unaarrimin’, Mullagh played in the third cricket match ever staged at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866 for the Aboriginal and T.W. Wills XI against the Melbourne Cricket Club.
This history had contributed to the introduction of the Mullagh Medal this year for the Player-of-the-Match in the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Cricket Australia said.
The inaugural Mullagh Medal will be awarded at the end of the ongoing second Test against India.
Mullagh, who lived in the Wimmera region of southern Victoria state, died at the age of 50 in 1891. He will be one of three inductees announced in February.
Australian cricket has belatedly made efforts to recognise Indigenous players but only former pace bowler Jason Gillespie has played in Tests in the men’s game.