Sean Williams embodies the Spirit of Cricket

Williams was on his way to a hundred, on 78 batting with Faraz Akram in the last seven overs of Zimbabwe's batting innings.

WHATEVER situation the game presents, Zimbabwe all-rounder, Sean Williams is never one to take unfair advantage of the opposition.

He has tried to stay true to the values of the game allowing respect and love of sport to take precedence.

Everyone wants to win in every game but winning legitimately; such are the lessons learnt from the lefthander particularly in the past year.

One of his shining examples includes the third unofficial One Day International against Pakistan Shaheens at Harare Sports Club in May.

Williams was on his way to a hundred, on 78 batting with Faraz Akram in the last seven overs of Zimbabwe's batting innings.

He tried to reverse sweep, missed the ball completely but the ball touched his body and deviated away from the wicketkeeper and raced away for a boundary.

The umpire's call was four runs to Williams and the Tuskers' batsman was on 82. He, however, went up straight to the square leg umpire, said the ball did not touch him in any way, it was reviewed and four leg byes were given attracting cheers of good sportsmanship from both the Shaheens fans at Harare Sports Club.

Williams was dismissed for 78 in the same over and Zimbabwe went on to lose that encounter by five runs through the Duckworth Lewis method.

The following month Zimbabwe faced West Indies in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier at Harare Sports Club. The locals outshone the Caribbean Islanders to keep their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in India alive, but subsequently ending West Indies journey.

Instead of celebrating the victory in that thriller, the Zimbabwean players went out to console the West Indies players catching the attention of the ICC who awarded the country the Spirit of Cricket Award last month.

Williams was again part of those players to console the West Indians, he was seen consoling Akeal Hosein.

"It’s a wonderful feeling to get that award and speaks volumes of how we are as Zimbabweans as a whole. We play to win, but the respect for the game will always be above everyone and players should not be taken advantage of when faced with a situation like that," Williams told The Sports Hub.

"A hand reaching out in support to a fellow human being is what we are about.

That is just the way we have been brought up as Zimbabweans. When you win or lose always do it with respect towards those you are playing with. At the end of the day it’s a game we all love playing and we all face those same challenges. A hand reaching out to help is what faith teaches us."

To the ICC media, with regards to the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award, the former Zimbabwe Test captain said: " We are humbled to receive this truly wonderful award in recognition of what we are about as a team and as a nation.

"After all, cricket is not just about winning and setting records. It is a game that has respect, friendship and fair play at its very core and these are values that we as cricketers should espouse."

Williams said sportsmanship and humility are some of the values that former coach, Dave Houghton instilled in the Chevrons' side.

"Let’s also not forget that’s what Dave Houghton brought to the team when he arrived and it showed," he said.

"Yes, he brought being humble into the change room. Not that it wasn’t there but had a big part to play in that by the way he conducted himself."

Williams is currently at the International League 20 in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai with Sharjah Warriors while Sikandar Raza is at Dubai Capitals, Richard Ngarava is turning out for Sylhet Strickers in the Bangladesh Premier League alongside teammate, Ryan Burl as Zimbabweans continue to make waves across the globe.

"I have been healing from my cracked ribs vs ireland. Had a very painful T20I series in Sri Lanka," added Williams.

"I  don't know how I did that, but it’s done now. I’m feeling a lot better done a lot of rehab with Amato (Machikicho, national team physio) and here again with the Warriors."

Renowned international director of athletics, Brian Phelps opined that sportsmanship is an important aspect of sport citing a few examples.

"We shake hands before and after games, we clap for injured players once they show that they're okay, and we extend a hand to help an opponent get up off of the ground. These examples are just scratching the surface of displaying good sportsmanship," he said.

"Sportsmanship is an understanding of and commitment to fair play, ethical behaviour and integrity, and general goodwill toward an opponent. It is an affirmation that an athlete is disciplined enough to have perspective, maintain poise and do what is best for his or her teammates."

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