Brendon McCullum honoured with CMJ Spirit of Cricket award
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was honoured with the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award announced at Lord’s yesterday, ecb.co.uk reports. The 33-year-old was recognised for his conduct as captain during New Zealand’s tour of England earlier this year.
The Spirit of Cricket Award is a joint initiative by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in memory of former MCC President and BBC cricket commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who passed away in January 2013. Awards given in four categories – boy, girl, school and professional – who have upheld the game’s traditional values either on a specific occasion or throughout the season, be that through outstanding sportsmanship, fair play or respect for opponents and umpires.
Previous winners of the award in the professional category include Wayne Madsen and Luke Wright. The selection panel comprising of BBC Test Match Special’s Jonathan Agnew and MCC President David Morgan chose McCullum as the first on-English recipient of the award citing “his leadership qualities and the culture of fair play that his team displayed.”
McCullum has enjoyed a terrific year so far both on a personal level as well from New Zealand’s point of view. He led the Black Caps to the final of the 2015 World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia who beat them in the tournament decider. Playing a brand of aggressive, yet entertaining cricket, New Zealand managed to steal the hearts of cricket fans all over the world with their fair play.
Following the World Cup, McCullum was chosen as the ‘Cricketer of the Year’ at the New Zealand Cricket Awards held in April while earlier this month he was made ‘Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit’ for his services to cricket. McCullum had famously criticised Australian skipper Steven Smith branding him ‘immature’ over the handling of Ben Stokes’ controversial dismissal during the 2nd ODI between England and Australia in the recently concluded series.
Prior to the visit of the Australians, it was New Zealand who toured England and played out a highly competitive 1-1 Test series as well as a 3-2 ODI series in favour of the hosts. The matches played in good spirit has now earned McCullum his latest accolade.
Speaking after announcing the awards, David Morgan, MCC President, said: "The entries for the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Awards were as strong as ever this year, and the winners can be very proud that they have been chosen. They are fully deserving of their acclaim and I hope they enjoy their prizes."
"Brendon McCullum’s conduct throughout the New Zealand tour earlier this year embodied the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message MCC champions through the Spirit of Cricket, and it’s fantastic to see that culture present within the boys and girls who have been recognised with the other awards,” he added.
Jonathan Agnew had this to say about McCulum: “Brendon's example is one that should be followed by everyone that plays the game. He has demonstrated time and again a determination to play cricket in the proper, respectful manner even at the top level when the stakes are at their highest.”
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) took to Twitter to congratulate McCullum on the achievement.