Vettori, Fleming honoured with New Zealand Order of Merit

Daniel Vettori (L) and Stephen Fleming were honoured with New Zealand’s highest civilian award Getty Images

Wellington: Jun 6, 2011

Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori were honoured with Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit, one the country’s highest civil honours, for their contribution in Kiwi cricket.

Fleming now coaches Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League while Vettori captains Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The 38-year-old Fleming was New Zealand’s youngest Test captain when he was appointed to the role at the age of 23. He went on to lead New Zealand in 80 Tests and in 218 ODIs, both national records, before retiring in 2008.

Vettori, 32, made his Test debut at the age of 18 and succeeded Fleming as captain in 2007 to continue at that role till now. In many ways, the cricket careers of Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori were intertwined.

Vettori’s on-field story is still being written, while Fleming retired in 2008 and moved on to a second life as a husband and father, coach, player manager and businessman.

It was while coaching Chennai in the IPL last month that Fleming found out he had been nominated for the royal honour. “It feels pretty good. I always look very proudly at those who are named. I look forward to the announcements, so I had no hesitation (in accepting the nomination) and feel honoured to be part of it,” Fleming said.

“I was very proud to represent New Zealand, especially when I was away from home, and that will never change. Having my achievements recognised in a formal sense, outside of the cricket setting, makes it more special,” he said.

“You don’t play the game for these accolades. You play to achieve certain goals within your sport. But to be recognised like this is very humbling, to be honest. It means a hell of a lot.”