New Zealand to have a nationwide tour with the ICC Test Championship (WTC) mace, which will give an opportunity for the fans to get a glimpse at the trophy and get autographs. Although the parade was felt unnecessary given that the managed isolation requirements and the fact that the cricketers are returning from England, but the demand from the public forced a rethink.
The mace will be ferried by the cricketers from Whangarei in the north to Invercargill in the South Island. They will also make pitstops in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch along the way in a week-long tour, starting July 26.
“It’s quickly become apparent that Kiwis want an opportunity to be part of, and to share in this historic achievement,” NZC chief executive David White, said.
“We’ve been inundated with requests to do something so that New Zealanders can join in with the team and share the moment."
“At first, we thought the time-out in managed isolation and the length of time since the win would dampen enthusiasm for a public celebration, but we have been persuaded to think again,” he added.
Along with the World Cup triumph of the Women's side in 2000, the WTC victory is the biggest achievement in New Zealand's cricket history and White reckons it gives an opportunity for the public to join in on the festivities.
“This is just as much a chance for our Blackcaps to say thank you to New Zealanders as anything else, and for NZC to express its gratitude to the country for creating an environment in which this was even possible,” White said.
“If it wasn’t for the sacrifices so many Kiwis made, and the leadership from our Government and Health authorities in allowing us to fulfil our ICC World Test Championship obligations, I very much doubt we would be in this position today.”
The tour will involve players and support staff assembling in each city en route to the final destination, starting with Tim Southee in his hometown of Whangarei. Other players, who will be part of this include Will Sommerville, Jeet Raval and Todd Astle, who were not present in the final in Southampton, but played a part in New Zealand's WTC campaign.
“We’ve tried to cover as much of the country as possible in a week to give the maximum number of people the chance to participate,” he said.
“I know some regions will be disappointed to miss out but I can assure them there’ll be further opportunities as we head towards our home international summer and that we’ll make a point of including as much of the country as realistically possible.”
NZC also wants the mace to be displayed in every home international match this summer.