Former New Zealand wicketkeeper and long-time broadcaster, Ian Smith, joined some illustrious former teammates when he received a prestigious honour from New Zealand Cricket for his “outstanding services” to the sport.
As NZC celebrated its latest high achievers he was awarded the Bert Sutcliffe Medal on the first day of this year’s awards ceremony for 2019-20, which took place virtually.
Former cricketers who have received this distinguished award include Walter Hadlee, Richard Hadlee, Graham Dowling and Ewen Chatfield, among others.
Described as probably the most recognisable voice of New Zealand cricket for fans all around the world, Smith said he felt “emotional” about becoming part of this illustrious list of medal winners, and dedicated the award to his wife, Louise.
Speaking via video link from his home in Hawkes Bay, Smith said: “I’m so grateful. It makes me quite emotional actually to think about joining the list of people who have already won this award.
“The playing aspect was the realisation of a dream. I fondly remember the times keeping to Sir Richard Hadlee, watching Martin Crowe bat sides into submission and all the other guys playing their part as well.
“I’ve loved every minute of calling Test cricket. Brendon [McCullum’s] 300 will live forever in my mind; Test wins at Lord’s, Hobart, Ross Taylor’s 290, the draw at Eden Park with so much drama against England, and of course the World Cup final at Lord’s last year.
“I dedicate this award to my wife Louise. Anyone who’s been involved with touring and cricket will know you have to have a base and Louise has been fantastic the whole time.
“I also want to thank my teammates throughout my playing career who made it all possible to have the success that I had.
“Also, the people I’ve worked with and, in particular, the people over the past two decades at Sky Television. It’s been a great journey and I wouldn’t trade it for a second.”
Born in 1957, Ian Smith’s distinguished playing career spanned 63 Tests and 98 One Day Internationals from 1980 to 1992. Smith has one of the highest ever strike rates as a batsman for ODIs, achieving 99 runs per 100 balls faced.
He also holds the record for the highest score in Tests for a batsman coming in at number nine, notching up 173 off 136 balls against India at Eden Park in 1990.
Following his retirement Smith became a renowned commentator on both radio and TV, covering both cricket and rugby union for SKY Sport in New Zealand.
As a cricket commentator he has also covered numerous ICC tournaments including the World Twenty20 and Cricket World Cup, calling the crucial closing ball as England beat New Zealand in the final at Lords.
He has also appeared as a guest commentator on Sky Sports and Test Match Special in the UK during New Zealand tours of England.
Smith’s son Jarrod is a professional footballer who has previously played for the New Zealand national team.