WTC: New Zealand to celebrate with fans with week-long WTC mace tour across country

New Zealand’s squad will carry their ICC World Test Championship trophy, the Mace, on a week-long, nationwide tour later this month, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced on Wednesday.

Plans have been drawn up by NZC to start the tour in Whangarei on Monday, July 26, and to visit Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill through the week so members of the public have an opportunity to be photographed with the unique trophy and collect autographs and a team poster.

NZC chief executive David White said that, although parades and other celebration ideas had initially been ruled out because of managed isolation requirements and the fact some players had remained in the United Kingdom, the demand from the public to be included in the celebration had forced a re-think.

“It’s quickly become apparent that Kiwis want an opportunity to be part of, and to share in this historic achievement,” said White in a release. “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.”

The Blackcaps and support staff currently in MIQ will be released on Saturday and White said it was essential they were allowed to spend some time with their families and friends before the trophy tour.

Along with the White Ferns’ ICC World Cup triumph in 2000, the Blackcaps’ WTC win is comfortably the biggest achievement in the history of New Zealand cricket and White said it was appropriate that New Zealanders should have the chance 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,” added David White.

The nationwide tour will involve selected Blackcaps and support staff assembling at each of the cities on the route, starting with a small group including Tim Southee at his hometown of Whangarei.

Players involved will also include Will Sommerville, Jeet Raval, and Todd Astle — all of whom were involved in the WTC campaign despite not being in England for the final. The trio will receive their winners’ medals retrospectively. NZC’s intent is to have the Mace on display at every BLACKCAPS home international game this summer.

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