New Zealand were awarded the ICC Spirit of Cricket award following their exemplary behavior during the tense ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final against England. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
New Zealand are considered the most sporting and gentlemanly team that is going around in the cricketing circles. Under Kane Williamson, the side has become a fan favorite not just in New Zealand but for fans all over the world. There is hardly any fan who might want to hate the New Zealand team for their demeanor or for their performance. Recently, this behavior has fetched them a massive reward and it is the ICC 'Spirit Of Cricket' Award. The trophy, which is named in memory of BBC broadcaster Christopher Martin-Jenkins, is awarded to the team/player most notable for "upholding the 'Spirit of the Game', involving respect for opponents, their own captain and team, the role of the umpires and the game's traditional values.
Speaking after announcing the award, MCC president Kumar Sangakkara 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 trophy was awarded to New Zealand after the end of the Hamilton Test against England which ended in a draw. The award is a recognition for New Zealand's exemplerary behavior in the aftermath of the traumatic ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final against England in Lord's. In the final over, Ben Stokes had smashed Trent Boult to deep midwicket for a couple. As he dived for the second run, the throw from Martin Guptill hit his bat and raced away to the third man fence for a boundary. Six runs were awarded to New Zealand but umpire Kumar Dharmasena made a mistake as only five runs should have been awarded according to the rules. Because of the six runs, the match ended in a tie and in the ensuing super over that also ended in a tie, England were declared the world champions due to a superior boundary count.
The outcry of being declared the winners on a superior boundary count was massive and some months later, the ICC scrapped the boundary count rule. In the entire episode, Williamson and the New Zealand team did not protest even once and they gracefully accepted the result.
Speaking after the end of the final, Williamson was all class as he accepted the result. " It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes' bat, but I just hope it doesn't happen in moments like that. Unfortunately that sort of thing happens from time to time. It's a part of the game that we play. I don't wish to nitpick, just hope it never happens in such moments ever again. It's unfair to critique a match fought with such small margins - especially the match that we saw."