Andrew Gourdie: The Blackcaps are the sporting pride of New Zealand

Their winning streak may be over, but the Blackcaps sit at the top of the sporting tree in New Zealand.

When it comes to performance both on and off field, they sit ahead of all others - even the All Blacks - as the pride of the sporting nation.

Before Thursday night, this had been a golden summer - 13 wins in a row against the West Indies and Pakistan, each of them dominant and oozing class, without a hint of arrogance.

That hasn't always been the case. But in the last couple of years there's been a change of culture around this team which started under Brendon McCullum and has been completed by the current regime.

The age-old debate over whether we should expect our sportspeople to be role models is redundant in this case. When you have the right people in the right team environment, it just comes naturally. These guys don't have to try to be role models, they just are. Coach and captain set the tone.

Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson.
Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson. Photo credit: Photosport

Hesson isn't flashy, he doesn't seek the spotlight. He just gets on and does the job. He's taken the team to new heights at major tournaments, and aggregate rankings across all three formats of the game has the Blackcaps currently sitting behind only India.

Any doubts over whether Kane Williamson was ready for the burden of captaincy have been obliterated. Enough column inches have already been dedicated to his performances with the bat, but more should be said about the ease with which he has taken on other elements of leadership. He has grown into the role, becoming a confident skipper who speaks with eloquence and authority after every match.

They lead a team of mature professionals. If you spend any length of time around the group you'll see this is closer to a team of dads, than a group of lads. That's a good thing. There's a family feel to the squad which is now dominated by settled young men in established relationships with young children - there's not a young, single, Instagram-obsessed egomaniac among them. They're just good, genuine blokes who're respectful and relaxed in their dealings with fans, media and their opponents. They're just a bit grown-up.

Andrew Gourdie: The Blackcaps are the sporting pride of New Zealand

Other teams can claim to have a 'no dickheads' policy, but headlines regularly suggest otherwise from time to time.

And that's just it - when was the last time you saw a negative headline about anything to do with the Blackcaps? The days of late-night drinking episodes and problems on tour are gone. The players responsible are gone too. There's just no room for them in this environment.

At the heart of it they are just a group of good people who are good at what they do, and getting better all the time. In all aspects, they're setting the example for other Kiwi sports teams to follow.

Andrew Gourdie is a sports presenter/reporter and host of Sunday Sport on RadioLIVE from 2pm.