West Indies win Martin-Jenkins 'spirit of cricket' award

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West Indies captain Jason Holder celebrates with John Campbell (Getty).
West Indies captain Jason Holder celebrates with John Campbell (Getty).

Cricket West Indies has won the 2020 'Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award' in recognition of its decision to send both men's and women's teams on tours of England during the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Thursday.

The West Indies' men's Test series, which started in July, saw international cricket resume for the first time since Covid-19 brought the global schedule to a grinding halt.

England won a three-match contest 2-1 but without the willingness of Jason Holder's tourists to live in bio-secure bubbles in Manchester and Southampton, the series would not have gone ahead.

Meanwhile 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.

Award organisers the BBC and MCC also expressed "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".

MCC president Kumar Sangakkara said in a statement Thursday: "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 former Sri Lanka captain added: "The whole cricketing world appreciates the lengths that both they and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) went to so that cricket could be played at the height of the pandemic, and their contribution should be remembered warmly.

The CMJ Spirit of Cricket award was created in 2013 by MCC and the BBC in memory of the late former MCC president and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, known by his initials 'CMJ'.

Holder's men won a similar award from the Cricket Writers' Club in October.

Johnny Grave, the English chief executive of Cricket West Indies, said he was proud this latest honour recognised the efforts their teams had made "to ensure that international cricket returned safely to the global stage".

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