The New Zealand men’s cricket team have won ICC’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award for the sporting conduct they displayed after the 2019 World Cup final. The Kiwis did not lift the World Cup Trophy despite a draw in the super-over, due to a boundary count rule. The rule has now been scrapped by the ICC. Despite the heartbreak, the Kiwis led by their skipper Kane Williamson were gracious in their conduct, which won the hearts of one and all.
Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, the current President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was all praise for the New Zealand team. Deeming them as worthy winners, he said:
“The New Zealand team are worthy winners of this award. In the heat of battle, they displayed a level of sportsmanship that was fitting for such a fantastic final, and indeed tournament. It is a testament to their squad that even after a match that will live long in the memory for the cricket that was played, we are still talking about the Spirit of Cricket. Their actions deserve this recognition.”
The award was founded as a collaboration between the MCC and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It was named in the memory of Martin-Jenkins, the former MCC President and BBC commentator who loved to see the game being played in the right spirit. It was created in 2013 and New Zealand are certainly worthy winners of the honour. The award was presented to New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson during their second Test match against England in Hamilton.
Some of the few criteria for the award include respect for the opponents, their own captain and team and also towards the umpires.