Rodney Marsh receives his honorary cap from ICC president David Morgan
The International Cricket Council is to unveil a Hall of Fame as part of its centenary year celebrations.
The 55 players on an original list by the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations list will be honoured, with more added each year.
There are 22 English stars, from WG Grace, who retired in 1899, to Graham Gooch, who last played in 1995.
There are 13 West Indians, 11 Aussies, three Indians, three Pakistanis, two South Africans and one New Zealander.
None of the players are current stars, with the most recent retiree former Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad (1996).
"Cricket gets plenty right, has plenty to celebrate and to look forward to," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.
"It will be a means of recognising the historical contribution of players and officials making cricket what it is."
Along with Grace and Gooch, Alan Knott, Alec Bedser, Brian Statham , Colin Cowdrey, David Gower, Denis Compton, Derek Underwood, Frank Woolley, Fred Trueman, Geoff Boycott, Harold Larwood, Ian Botham, Jack Hobbs, Jim Laker, Len Hutton, Peter May, Sydney Barnes, Tom Graveney, Wally Hammond and Wilfred Rhodes all feature for England.
The first man to be awarded his honorary cap was former Australian wicketkeeper/batsman Rodney Marsh.
The ICC's centenary year of 2009 is intended to be a global celebration with events taking place around the world.
Playing events include the ICC Women's World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, the ICC World Twenty20 event for men and women and the ICC Champions Trophy.
Off the field there will be the opening of the ICC Global Cricket Academy and the inauguration of the ICC's new headquarters - both in Dubai - and an ICC History Conference at St Antony's College, Oxford.
The ICC will also celebrate the contribution of volunteers across the world through the award of 1,000 centenary medals and will announce new developments to its social responsibility partnership on HIV/AIDS.