Morgan hopes World Cup win will spark English cricket revival

17781

LONDON, July 15, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – England captain Eoin Morgan hopes his
side’s “incredible journey” to World Cup glory will inspire a new generation
of fans in the sport’s birthplace.

There have long been concerns about declining player numbers in English
cricket, with the sport hidden behind a television paywall in Britain since
England’s iconic 2005 Ashes series triumph.

But Sunday’s match at Lord’s — the first of the 12 World Cup finals to
end in a tie and to be settled by a Super Over contest — was on free-to-air
television.

“I certainly hope participation levels go up or continue to rise,” said
Morgan, who has overseen England’s climb from the depths of a miserable
first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup. Morgan, asked if the final would have
resonated far beyond cricket’s core audience, replied: “I hope so. Obviously
today is a big day of sport with Wimbledon and the Silverstone GP going on.

“But with Sunday evening, people normally settle in for a bit of
(naturalist) David Attenborough or some random film that’s on, so I hope they
were tuned into the cricket.”

England, set 242 to win, were dismissed for 241, with Ben Stokes stranded
on 84 not out after Mark Wood was run out off the last ball of regulation
play.

They then made 15 in their additional Super Over, bowled by Trent Boult,
before New Zealand matched that in their own Super Over, bowled by Jofra
Archer.

But with Martin Guptill run out off the last ball of the match going for
the winning run, England triumphed on boundary count during the match — 26
to 17.

England had a moment of astonishing good fortune with a bonus four runs
during their main innings when a Guptill throw deflected off the bat of
Stokes, who was diving to make his ground.

– ‘Allah with us’ –

But the Dublin-born Morgan, asked if England had enjoyed the famed luck of
the Irish, said: “I spoke to Adil (England leg-spinner Adil Rashid), he said
Allah was definitely with us.

“It actually epitomises our team, quite diverse backgrounds and cultures.”

The 32-year-old added: “It was the most incredible game of cricket, with
nothing between the sides.

“I commend the Black Caps and Kane (Williamson, New Zealand captain),
they’ve been absolutely incredible.”

England have consciously tried to emulate New Zealand’s aggressive one-day
style since the Black Caps thrashed them in a 2015 group match, with
Australian coach Trevor Bayliss appointed after that World Cup. “The biggest
risk for us throughout the tournament was not playing a positive brand of
cricket,” said Morgan after England’s World Cup win, which following defeats
in the 1979, 1987 and 1992 finals.

Williamson, for whom this was a second straight World Cup final reverse
after Australia overwhelmed New Zealand four years ago, said he felt “just
gutted”.

“I think throughout this whole campaign I have spoken about
‘uncontrollables’ and there were a couple today that were pretty hard to
swallow,” added star batsman Williamson, named man of the tournament for his
578 runs.

Barbados-born fast bowler Archer only made his England debut in May but
Morgan still entrusted the 24-year-old with the Super Over.

“Jofra was pretty easy, he’s an unbelievably talented player,” Morgan
explained.

Archer said his nerves had been settled by Stokes, who three years ago had
four straight sixes hit off him by Carlos Brathwaite during a last-over loss
to the West Indies in the 2016 World Twenty20 final in Kolkata.

“Stokesy came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a
player,” said Archer.

The success meant England’s cricketers matched the nation’s 1966 football
team and the 2003 rugby union team in becoming world champions.

But Morgan, asked if he had joined fellow captains Bobby Moore and Martin
Johnson on the English sporting equivalent of Mount Rushmore, said: “Not at
all. There’s no Mount Rushmore.

“Primrose Hill (a northwest London suburb near Lord’s), that’s about it.”