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New Zealand honours McCullum and Hesson

New Zealand`s unprecedented success in reaching the Cricket World Cup final earlier this year has resulted in honours for captain Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson.

Both were appointed Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM) in the Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours list released Monday.

Therese Walsh, head of the New Zealand organising committee for the 2015 World Cup, which was co-hosted with Australia, was made a Dame Companion of the NZOM.

The honours were announced as McCullum eyed a series-levelling Test victory over England after leading his side to a commanding position on the third day of the second Test at Headingley.

Hesson said he hoped the accolades would be seen as recognition for the entire New Zealand team, both on and off the field.

“We front the team from a coach and captain`s perspective but we wouldn`t be here receiving this honour without a very good group of cricketers and really good support staff around us. I feel honoured, privileged and surprised,” he said.

McCullum, who made his international debut in a one-day international against Australia in 2002 and played his first Test against South Africa two years later, said he was “humbled” to be recognised.

“It feels funny accepting one of these but I`m sure the rest of the guys will enjoy it too,” he said. “We`re trying to make an impact on sport while we have an opportunity, and leave it in a better space than when we took over.”

New Zealand surprised the cricket world when they went into the World Cup in February as outsiders and were the only unbeaten team in pool play before eventually losing the final to Australia a month later.

McCullum and Hesson have been New Zealand`s captain and coach since 2012 and in addition to taking the side to the World Cup final for the first time they also led New Zealand to an unprecedented five Test wins in the 2014-15 season.

In the current second Test against England, New Zealand hold a 338-run lead in their second innings with four wickets in hand and two days to play.

England won the first Test by 124 runs at Lord`s.

New Zealand awards honours twice a year — at New Year and to mark the official birthday of the Queen in early June.

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