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    Warne to enter Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

    Melbourne: Test great Shane Warne will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame this week, Cricket Australia said on Sunday.

    The legendary leg-spinner, the first cricketer to take 700 Test wickets, will be inducted at the annual Allan Border Medal ceremony in Melbourne on Monday, CA said.

    Hall of Fame chairman David Crow said Warne, 42, who retired from Test cricket in 2007, was the selection committee's unanimous choice.

    "Shane Warne's contribution to cricket has been enormous," Crow said. "He revived legspin, combining accuracy with variety and enormous turn, even on unhelpful pitches. It was the timing of his performances - in addition to his sheer weight of wickets - that further underlined his legendary status."

    "Beyond his phenomenal record, Shane Warne changed the way cricket was played and has inspired a new generation of cricketers worldwide to take up the challenging craft of spin bowling."

    Warne said he was surprised and delighted to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and would fly from the United States to attend the ceremony in Melbourne.

    "To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is just a massive honour, and it makes me feel very proud. I'm glad I'm sharing this with my children and my family," Warne said in a statement.

    Warne, who was named in 2000 as one of only five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, took 708 wickets at 25.41 in 145 Tests and 293 wickets in 194 one-day internationals, including his "ball of the century" to dismiss England's Mike Gatting at Manchester, England in 1993.

    He was also crucial to Australia's World Cup success in 1999, but missed the 2003 tournament because of a doping ban.

    "To be mentioned in the same breath as some of those cricketers who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and to be inducted so soon after my international retirement, is a great privilege," Warne said.

    Warne said he idolized pace bowler Dennis Lillee as a boy.

    "Watching some of these guys growing up, and as kids pretending I was one of them with my brother in the backyard," Warne said.

    The Australian Hall of Fame began in 1996, with Lillee and Don Bradman among 10 initial inductees.