Daryl Mitchell wins ICC Spirit of Cricket award for 2021

The batter becomes the fourth player from New Zealand to win the award, after Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, and Kane Williamson.

Daryl Mitchell

Against England in the T20 World Cup, Daryl Mitchell scored an unbeaten 72 to steer New Zealand into the final.   -  Getty Images

New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell won the ICC Spirit of Cricket award for 2021 for his refusal to take a single after getting in the bowler's way during the T20 World Cup semifinal against England in November, 2021.

Mitchell, a top-order batter, is the fourth player from New Zealand to win the award, after Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, and Kane Williamson.

The incident occurred in the first ball of the 18th over of New Zealand's chase of 167. Jimmy Neesham was on strike but no run was taken after Neesham hit the ball back past the bowler as Mitchell, at the non-strikers' end, felt he had blocked the bowler.

Mitchell finished on an unbeaten 72 (47b, 4x4, 4x6) as New Zealand chased the target down with six balls to spare.

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Commenting on receiving the honour and reflecting on that moment, Mitchell, said: “It is a real honour to receive the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award and it was absolutely amazing to be part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup that happened in UAE last year. Reflecting back, it was a pretty tight game against England at the semi-final of the tournament with only a few overs to go, Neesh hit a single down to long-off and I think I obstructed Rashid who was trying to get to the ball.

 

“We pride ourselves as a team, in the way we play our cricket and I guess that’s the spirit of cricket. Personally, I felt like I got in the way, and we wanted to win but on our own terms. I guess it paid off in the long run, that we won the game.

“We want to win every game, but we don’t want to do it in a way that goes against the values of cricket. The spirit of cricket is very important. It is a platform for young cricketers to watch and learn and to get inspired to play the game and go about winning it in the right way. At the end of the day, it is just a game, and it is a game that we all love, and we are very lucky to be able to do that in the right way.” 

“Personally, there are more important things than winning a game of cricket and at that moment it was the right thing to do.”

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