New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell was named the winner of ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2021 after his gesture in the Men's T20 World Cup semifinal against England in Abu Dhabi.Mitchell was given the award for refusing to take a single in the high-pressure T20 World Cup semifinal against England in Abu Dhabi on November 10.Chasing 167, New Zealand were on course for acing the run chase with a well-settled Mitchell establishing a partnership with James Neesham.
The incident occurred on the first ball of the 18th over bowled by Adil Rashid, with the score at 133/4. Neesham bashed 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, Mitchell's gesture oozed class.Mitchell becomes the fourth New Zealand player to win the Spirit of Cricket award after Daniel Vettori (2012), Brendon McCullum (2015) and Kane Williamson (2018).
"It's an honour to receive the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award. 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," said Mitchell in his acceptance speech."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," added Mitchell.Former England captain 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, after taking New Zealand into the title clash by hitting the winning boundary to remain unbeaten at 72 off just 47 balls, explained why he refused to take the single that time.
"It was a pretty tight game against England in that semifinal, 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."This spirit is described in the preamble to the laws of cricket: "Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its laws but also within the spirit of the game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself."The preamble goes on to say: "The spirit of the game involves respect for: your opponents, your own captain and team, the role of the umpires and the game's traditional values."