MCC, in conjunction with the BBC, is delighted to announce that Cricket West Indies has been awarded the 2020 Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award.
Cricket West Indies were selected for their courage in sending both their Men’s and Women’s teams to tour England in 2020, a year when the Covid-19 pandemic has caused such major disruption not only to the international cricketing calendar, but to everyday life.
The award singles out Cricket West Indies for their efforts, but both MCC and the BBC would like to place on record their admiration for the Pakistan Cricket Board, Cricket Ireland and Cricket Australia for overcoming logistical challenges to send their Men’s teams to play England.
In addition, none of these tours would have been possible without the determination of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and everyone involved in the herculean effort to host international cricket in this extraordinary year.
Jason Holder’s West Indies Men’s team faced England in a three-match Test series which began in early July. The team arrived in the United Kingdom in early June, with lockdown restrictions still in place across the United Kingdom and infection rates remaining prevalent.
The West Indies Women’s team, led by Stafanie Taylor, stepped in at late notice to play England in a five-match T20 international series in September, following the cancellation of the hosts’ previously scheduled matches.
The CMJ Spirit of Cricket award was created in 2013 by MCC and the BBC in memory of former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins (“CMJ”), who was passionate about promoting the spirit of the game.
The award has previously been won by: Wayne Madsen of Derbyshire; Sussex’s Luke Wright; Brendon McCullum of New Zealand; Tom Fell of Worcestershire, England’s Anya Shrubsole, and Dan Bowser and Chris Edwards of the England Learning Disability Team.
Last year’s winners were the New Zealand Men’s team, who were recognised for their exemplary display of sporting conduct in the wake of the 2019 ICC Men’s World Cup Final at Lord’s.
"The whole cricketing world appreciates the lengths that both they and the ECB went to so that cricket could be played at the height of the pandemic"
MCC President Kumar Sangakkara said: “In a year when cricket has brought us much solace, it is entirely fitting that Cricket West Indies and their Men’s and Women’s teams should be recognised for the courage of their decision to tour England, an act which truly embodies the Spirit of Cricket.
“The whole cricketing world appreciates the lengths that both they and the ECB went to so that cricket could be played at the height of the pandemic, and their contribution should be remembered warmly.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board, Cricket Ireland and Cricket Australia should also be commended for their actions, with each body making an important contribution to ensure England could host a full international summer, which was enjoyed by supporters around the globe.”
"In this most difficult of years, the Spirit of Cricket has never been more important"
Chief Executive of Cricket West Indies Johnny Grave said: “We are delighted that our Men’s and Women’s teams have won the prestigious Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award. On behalf of everyone at CWI, I’d like to thank MCC and the BBC for recognising the efforts that our teams made, in close collaboration with ECB, to ensure that international cricket returned safely to the global stage.
"It was a bold but necessary decision made by the CWI Board, supported by those who travelled to the UK, in keeping with our Cricket First philosophy.
“I must also thank the ECB, along with Hampshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire who hosted our teams this summer and ensured that they were kept safe during both tours.”
BBC Test Match Special Producer Adam Mountford added: “In this most difficult of years, the Spirit of Cricket has never been more important. The West Indies Men’s and Women’s teams made huge sacrifices and took personal risks to keep international cricket going and provide a crucial distraction for fans across the world.”