World Test Championship: Victorious Blackcaps arrive home with Mace in hand after historic Indian victory

The victorious Blackcaps are home after claiming the inaugural World Test Championship with an eight-wicket win over India this week. 

A majority of the New Zealand squad landed in Auckland on Saturday, bringing with them the impressive Mace - awarded to the winning side of the final.

A few members of the squad remained in the UK with several under contract with county and The Hundred squads.

Newly retired wicket-keeper BJ Watling was spotted carrying the trophy, hilariously nicknamed by the squad 'Michael Mason' - after the former New Zealand international.

The returning squad members now face a mandatory 14-day stint in a managed isolation facility, including quick bowler Neil Wagner who said the Mace was shared around the squad during the 14-hour flight home. 

"We shared the mace around on the plane and throughout the whole night while celebrating, everybody had their turn to carry it around and make full use of that," Wagner said.

"And then on the plane, Ross [Taylor] got me to hand over the mace to BJ Watling, he’s going to take care of it for the next two weeks in isolation.

"I think it’s a fitting way for him to send his career off, it’s been an amazing career for us, the role he’s played for a number of years now, just the whole person he is and heart and soul of the team.

"He epitomises everything we are about as a team, the team-first attitude, being a guy that scraps and fights for everything, he’s led that all the way from the start. He’ll be sorely missed in this team."

The squad's arrival had zero fanfare due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, with Wagner admitting it felt a little hollow not being able to greet fans after walking through customs.

But limited contact they did have, showed just how much Kiwis enjoyed Thursday morning's historic climax.

"It’s a bit of a shame but it’s part of the world we live in at the moment. It was quite nice to see some Kiwis walk past and see what it means to them, albeit in the distance waving away, and saying congratulations, it means a lot to all the boys.

"I don’t think I’ve ever walked into customs and got greeted the way we did. 

"Everyone was just straight away [saying] congratulations, pretty happy, grabbed our passports and all they wanted to ask was, ‘Where’s the mace, where’s the mace?’

“Seeing even police officers stopping wanting to have a photo from a distance with it - it was nice to see the smiles on everyone’s faces."

Neil Wagner
Neil Wagner Photo credit: Getty Images

Wagner said being separated from his teammates for the next fortnight will be tough, giving the adrenaline is still flowing after topping India in such dramatic fashion.

"Coming off a high like this, you want to be around the lads and celebrate and obviously enjoy this moment,” he said. "

"It is a bit niggly, you’ve got to be stuck in your room, but those 14 days is what it is to keep the country safe.

"After that, we’ll make the most of celebrating again."