During New Zealand’s first Test against Zimbabwe in November 2011 in Bulwayo, Zimbabwe required 64 runs with five wickets in hand to win the Test. Regis Chakabva played a ball from the New Zealand spinner to mid-on, however, during his follow through Vettori proceeded to get in the way of Malcolm Waller, at the non-striker’s end, preventing the Zimbabwean from running.
Vettori immediately held up his hand to the wicketkeeper, Reece Young, to indicate there had been a collision, accidentally which hindered the non-striker. As this happened, Chakabva by this point was too far down the wicket to get back to his crease in time, the bails are whipped off at the striker’s end but New Zealand elected not to appeal because of Vettori’s admittance to blocking Waller’s path.
The gesture was done with the minimum of fuss by the former Black Caps’ captain and was deemed by the Emirates Elite Panels of ICC Match Referees and Umpires as well as the ten Full Member Test captains as being the best illustration of the Spirit of Cricket out of all the other nominees.
Upon receiving the award, Vettori said: “It was the right thing to do at the time and we as a team try and play with the right spirit of cricket. It’s hard to define the spirit of cricket, but go out on the field with the general mind sight to play the game in the right way and always in the right frame of mind.
“I still think in trying to win a world tournament you have to try and win it in the right way and always with the spirit of cricket in mind.”
Vettori beat off competition from South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis as well as Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan and West Indies’ Kieron Pollard.