New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell wins ICC’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award

DUBAI: New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell was on Wednesday named the recipient of 2021’s ICC ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award for not taking an easy single during the T20 World Cup semifinal against England as he felt he had “obstructed” the way of bowler Adil Rashid in that moment.
Mitchell won the award for his gesture during the game in Abu Dhabi on November 10 last year, which New Zealand won by five wickets.
Mitchell is the fourth New Zealand player to win the award, following in the footsteps of Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.
“It’s an honour to receive the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award,” Mitchell said.
“To be part of that T20 World Cup in UAE was an amazing experience, and to receive an award like this is pretty cool.
“It’s something that we pride ourselves on as New Zealanders, the way we go about playing our cricket, and yes, the Spirit of Cricket side.
“Personally, I felt I got in the way and we wanted to win on our own terms, and didn’t want to be controversial in such a big game. It paid off in the long run that we won the game. Looking back, it all happened pretty quickly.”
The incident occurred on the first ball of the 18th over bowled by Adil Rashid, with the score at 133/4 and James Neesham on strike.
Neesham smashed the ball down the ground and it would have been an easy single.
But Mitchell, at the non-striker’s end, refused to take the run, conceding that he had impeded Rashid in a high-pressure chase, with a place in the World Cup final at stake.
Nasser Hussain, who was live on commentary during the contest, was full of praise for Mitchell saying, “That is very good. That is so New Zealand, it really is. So easy to take a run there. But the non-strike said, ‘No, I’ve got in the way of Adil.’
Anything sums up New Zealand cricket – it was that.” Mitchell, explaining why he refused to take the single, added: “It was a pretty tight game against England in that semi-final, with only a few overs to go. Neesh (Jimmy Neesham) hit a single down to long-off I think it was, and I felt like I’d obstructed Rashid from getting to the ball.
“The game that we play, we play it because we love it. Yes, we want to win as much as we can, but we don’t want that to come about from doing things that go against the values of cricket. Spirit of Cricket is vitally important. It sets a platform for kids in the future, who will go about playing the game in the right way.
“At the end of the day, it is a game, it’s something that we love. So obviously we’re so lucky to do that.”
Mitchell who opened the batting proved to be the match-winner, playing a memorable knock of 72 not out in only 47 deliveries, while also hitting the winning runs.

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