New Zealand to host national Mace tour to celebrate World Trials victory

Auckland: The victorious Black Caps team will wear their ICC World Championship test weight on a week-long nationwide tour of the country starting July 26, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced on Wednesday.

Kane Williamson and Co won the inaugural WTC final, beating India by eight wickets at Southampton in an exciting contest last month.

The tour is scheduled to begin in Whangarei on July 26 and will cover Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill throughout the week so members of the public have the option of being photographed with the unique trophy and collect autographs and a team poster.

“It quickly became clear that the Kiwis want an opportunity to be a part of and share in this historic achievement,” said NZC chief executive David White.

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Captain Kane Williamson poses with the ICC test mace with his teammates after New Zealand beat India by eight wickets in the WTC final. PA

“We have been inundated with requests to do something for the New Zealanders to join the team and share the moment.

“At first we thought the time out in managed isolation and the time since the victory would dampen the enthusiasm for a public celebration, but we were persuaded to think again,” he said.

The nationwide tour will involve selected players and support staff who will gather in each of the cities on the course, starting with a small group including Tim Southee in his hometown of Whangarei.

“It’s a great way to give back to the fans who have supported us – not just the past two years through the Test Championship, but for a long time,” said Southee.

“For some of those little places that don’t get a lot of international cricket or see a lot of cricketers, it’s a great opportunity to go back to these little towns… I know growing up in a small town, every time that ‘there is something special like that, it is always a great occasion.

“I hope we can give back and hopefully the children some hope for future cricketers,” he added.

Will Sommerville, Jeet Raval and Todd Astle – who have all competed in the WTC campaign despite not being in England for the final, will also be on the tour.

The trio will retrospectively receive the medals of their winners.

The Black Caps team and support staff are currently in managed segregation and will be released on Saturday.

White said it was essential that they were allowed to spend time with family and friends before the trophy tour.

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