Ben Stokes, the hero of England’s victory against New Zealand in the World Cup final, was born in Christchurch. Reuters
Mohammad Abdullah , Staff Reporter
After a long wait of 44 years, finally England have realised their dream of adorning the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cabinet with an elusive World Cup trophy, thanks to the influx of migrants in the country.
The epic final against New Zealand will go down in history as perhaps the best ODI game ever.
The final witnessed many firsts in the history of cricket that might change the landscape the way the game is played.
For the first time, a Super Over was bowled in an ODI. And for the first time, leave alone a World Cup final, has any team won a game by virtue of more boundaries hit.
Before this match, there were only three ways of deciding a winner – by runs, wicket and Duckworth and Lewis, which comes into play only in case of some kind of interruption in the game.
However, there is another angle, which has totally been either shunned ignorantly or downplayed deliberately. The architects of England’s victory were two immigrants – Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Stokes was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and Archer in Barbados, West Indies.
Stokes’ father was a rugby coach who moved to England when the he was only 12. Stokes senior migrated as a coach of a local rugby club and went back to live in Christchurch in 2013.
Young Stokes learned the skills of the game in Yorkshire and traded rugby gears for a cricket kit unlike his father. But little did he know then that one day he would become the national hero of his adopted country. When England were reeling at 86-4, Stokes added a valuable 110 runs with Jos Buttler for the fifth wicket to pull them out of the rot.
When England needed 9 off the last three deliveries, Stokes could manage to hit the ball for just a couple.
But as the luck would have it, while scrambling for a quick second run with Adil Rashid – son of another Pakistani migrant – Stokes unintentionally deflected a throw, which fetched them six runs .
However, the game ended in a tie and the first Super Over came into play in ODIs. Once again the England team management relied on Stokes and he lived up to the expectations as they set New Zealand a target of 16 runs in Super Over.
Now on the scene arrived the other migrant Archer, who was given the responsibility of defending the most valuable 15 runs ever for England.
And he too discharged his duties well as the topsy-turvy Super Over too ended in a tie, which handed England 24-16 victory and their first World Cup.
Archer’s father was a Brit and mother a West Indian. He spent his childhood in Barbados and played for U-19 West Indies. However, he had made his intent clear to play for England from the beginning. But as per the rules, one must live in England for at least seven years to be inducted into national the team.
Once again the ECB, showed the generosity and bent the rules, reducing it to three years instead of seven to bring him in line with the regulations.
England has reaped the rewards for being generous with the immigration rules earlier also. As a total of 107 cricketers from across the globe have represeneted England in the last 175 years across different formats of the game, starting from the time of India’s Ranjit Singhji Jadeja.
India and South Africa top the list of the countries, who have the privilege of having supplied the most numbers of international cricketers to England.
The reason can be attributed to the fact that both have been ruled by England and many cricketers, who played for England were born in either of these countries when their parents were deputed there.
Some of the prominent cricketers who were born overseas and represented England are KS Ranjitsinhji, Duleepsinhji, AK Pataudi, Bob Woolmer, Robin Jackman, Nasser Hussain, Tony Greig, Allan Lamb, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott and Jason Roy to name a few.
Mohamed Farah, the marathon runner, is a Somalian migrant, who after having been natuarlised, won many accolades for England.
Both the Champions League and Europa League titles this season will be going to clubs from England. While Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will be vying for Europe’s blue riband club football completion in Madrid come June 1, it will be Chelsea and Arsenal who will figure in the Europa final in Baku.
The best way to popularise a sport is to have wider participation, so the decision to have only 10 teams for the 2019 Cricket World Cup goes against that spirit. FIFA for instance is planning to expand its reach by holding a 48-team Football World Cup in 2026. The Cricketing governing body should have implemented
Though heavyweights India and Australia are out of contention, there is much to look forward to as England square up against New Zealand at Lord’s (‘Morgan wants England to relish pressure of World Cup final,’ July 13, Gulf Today). We will have a new champion as neither of the finalists have ever won the title.
India is on a roll. At the rate they are going, even if rains plays truant for the rest of the tournament, the Men in Blue should reach Lords comfortably (“Rohit stars as India beat Pakistan to maintain perfect WC record, June 17, Gulf Today). While it was a disciplined show of skill by the Indians, their counterparts failed in almost all departments of the game.
Former India captain M.S. Dhoni has completed his two-week stint with the Territorial Army in Jammu and Kashmir. A picture of him playing cricket with kids in a basketball court on a cemented pitch has been going viral on social media.
A ninth Test century from captain Dimuth Karunaratne propelled Sri Lanka to a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the first cricket Test on Sunday.
VAR denied Manchester City a win against Tottenham for the second time in four months as the visitors secured a 2-2 draw at the Etihad on Saturday despite being largely outclassed by the Premier League champions.
Al Jazira have completed the signing of Serbian defender Milos Kosanovic from Belgian Club Standard Liege. The 29-year-old has signed a two-year contract and will join up with his new team-mates in Abu Dhabi ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season.