Wellington - New Zealand's unprecedented success in reaching the Cricket
World Cup final earlier this year has resulted in honours for captain Brendon
McCullum and coach Mike Hesson.
Both were appointed Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM) in the
Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours list released on Monday.
Therese Walsh, head of the New Zealand organising committee for the 2015
World Cup, which was co-hosted with Australia, was made a Dame Companion of the
The honours were announced as McCullum eyed a series-levelling Test victory
over England after leading his side to a commanding position on the third day
of the second Test at Headingley.
Hesson said he hoped the accolades would be seen as recognition for the
entire New Zealand team, both on and off the field.
"We front the team from a coach and captain's perspective but we
wouldn't be here receiving this honour without a very good group of cricketers
and really good support staff around us. I feel honoured, privileged and
surprised," he said.
McCullum, who made his international debut in a one-day international
against Australia in 2002 and played his first Test against South Africa two
years later, said he was "humbled" to be recognised.
"It feels funny accepting one of these but I'm sure the rest of the
guys will enjoy it too," he said. "We're trying to make an impact on
sport while we have an opportunity, and leave it in a better space than when we
New Zealand surprised the cricket world when they went into the World Cup in
February as outsiders and were the only unbeaten team in pool play before
eventually losing the final to Australia a month later.
McCullum and Hesson have been New Zealand's captain and coach since 2012 and
in addition to taking the side to the World Cup final for the first time they
also led New Zealand to an unprecedented five Test wins in the 2014-15 season.
In the current second Test against England, New Zealand hold a 338-run lead
in their second innings with four wickets in hand and two days to play.
England won the first Test by 124 runs at Lord's.
New Zealand awards honours twice a year - at New Year and to mark the
official birthday of the Queen in early June.