The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday, February 2021, that New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell has been named the recipient of the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for 2021 in light of the display of his true sportsmanship during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
With this, the Black Caps player has become the fourth cricketer from his nation to be honoured by the award. The other New Zealand players on the elite list include 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.”
He receives the award for his gesture during the T20 World Cup semi-final match against England at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in November. In the game, a formidable England side set a competitive total of 166/4. The incident took place in the first ball of the 18th over of New Zealand’s innings when Adil Rashid came to bowl.
New Zealand was on 133/4 as Jimmy Neesham and Darryl Mitchell were establishing a sturdy partnership. During the game, he refused to take a single in a high-pressure segment of the game after he accidentally came in way of Adil Rashid, which gave them an opportunity to take that much-required run.
prompting Nasser Hussain in the commentary box to heap praises for not just Mitchell but the entire New Zealand team as he said, “That is very good. That is so New Zealand, it really is. So easy to make 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.”
Explaining why he took that call, the CC Spirit of Cricket Award winner had said after the game, “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.”
Darryl Mitchell played a tantalizing knock, hitting an unbeaten 72* in only 47 deliveries, and led the side towards victory and ultimately to the final. However, the team lost the final to Australia and ended up as the runners up of the tournament.