26 Jun 2021

Black Caps lauded after maiden world title triumph

3:12 pm on 26 June 2021

The Black Caps celebrations said it all after being crowned winners of the inaugural World Test Championship.

Kane Williamson the New Zealand Blackcaps captain lifts the World Test Championship Mace surrounded by teammates at Southampton, England on Saturday 23rd June 2021.

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

But they weren't the only ones celebrating - family, friends, fans and former players all revelling in the New Zealand men's team's first world title triumph.

A triumph which seemed to have settled a debate, with several of those former players saying the current team was now the greatest the country had seen.

They were calls being led by legendary bowler Sir Richard Hadlee, the starring member of the legendary 1980s team which previously held that mantle.

And calls fully endorsed by most recent former captain Brendon McCullum.

"This is the greatest team that we've had and I've been saying it for a while.

"To be now to be able to put the result of being not only the number one test team in the world but also now winning the inaugural World Test Championship ... in time, we'll look back on this as a very significant title."

A significance not lost on the man who succeeded McCullum.

Current skipper Kane Williamson was a satisfied man after lifting the ICC mace.

"A very proud moment in our history and a proud moment just as a team really.

"To just stick to what we do well and come away with the win is a really great feeling."

Especially given recent events.

Kane Williamson after the final.

Photo: Photosport

After coming up one short in the 2015 One-Day World Cup final, and being cruelly denied the same title in 2019, Williamson was delighted to be on the other side of the ledger.

"To be involved in a couple of finals previously and the first one was one-sided and the second one was pretty interesting.

"This feeling is a bit different to those which is great."

Great as well for the voice synonymous with that 2019 final heartbreak.

Commentator and former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith said his emotions running high after the Test Championship win.

"It's one of the great achievements in New Zealand sports [history] and probably the greatest achievement New Zealand cricket's ever had.

"To be there two or three times where we fell and missed and you wonder, was that our chance. Well, not in this case and finally we've got the trophy that I think we deserve."

And Smith said it wasn't just New Zealanders who held that belief.

"I've heard from the likes of Shane Warne and Allan Border and had messages from Michael Atherton and those guys that were in the commentary box, Ian Bishop and co.

"I've heard from a lot of cricketing guys who are exceptionally proud of the way New Zealand have won this.

"Not because they've beaten India, because they sense they've done, and Kane Williamson in particular, have done a lot for the sport of cricket and they need something to show for it and we've got it."

Brendon McCullum celebrates a world record test century.

Brendon McCullum celebrates a world record test century. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

For Smith, McCullum and many others, the icing of the cake was two of the teams longest serving members bringing them home.

Former Black Caps fast bowler Iain O'Brien said having Williamson and Ross Taylor finish the job was fitting.

"To see Kane and Ross embrace, I think they embraced three times before they realised that they had had three hugs.

"It just looked like they didn't quite know how to how to react but they just kept hugging each other and it was a fairytale finish for those two to finish it off."

Not just finishing off the match, but an eight-year journey to the top.

A journey that started with the humiliating 2013 loss to South Africa in Cape Town, McCullum's first match as test captain.

And while he acknowledged it was viewed as the Black Caps "ground zero" moment, McCullum said the matches and moments that came before were equally responsible for shaping the current team into one which embodied all the right qualities.

"They are just a great example of what New Zealanders are like.

"They're humble, hard working, they do punch above their weight.

"They don't look for excuses that we're short on resources or we might be outmatched by skill, they just stand together and try and get the job done."

On this occasion not just trying, but succeeding in a way many New Zealand cricket fans would've never imagined.