Morgan hopes WC win will spark English cricket revival

Afp, London

16 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

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. 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.