Morgan hopes TIE-tanic sinking of Kiwis in WC final sparks English cricket upturn - GulfToday

Morgan hopes TIE-tanic sinking of Kiwis in WC final sparks English cricket upturn


England captain Eoin Morgan (right) and team-mates attend a World Cup victory event at The Oval on Monday. vAgence France-Presse

London: Even as concerns abound 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 -- 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.

“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.

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.

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.

“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 meanwhile, 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.

England’s success meant their 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.”

Meanwhile, heartbroken New Zealanders expressed pride on Monday in the Black Caps’ fighting spirit after defeat to England in the Cricket World Cup final, but also bemusement at the obscure rules that cost them the match.

The Black Caps lost even though scores were tied at the end of both regular play and a Super Over shootout, with England’s superior boundary count giving them victory.

As Kiwi fans absorbed a second straight loss in the tournament decider, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was concentrating on the positives.

“That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that Super Over,” she posted on social media.

“Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team.” But her sports minister Grant Robertson questioned the tie-break method.

“What an extraordinary game. Not sure Super Over is the right end,” he tweeted.

“Whatever, NZ you can be so, so proud of this team.” Former Black Cap Scott Styris labelled governing body the ICC “a joke” over the rules but congratulated both teams on a stunning efforts.

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming’s one-word reaction to the result was “cruel”, while even the father of England’s Kiwi-born match-winner Ben Stokes felt the Kiwis were hard done by.

Gerard Stokes, a former New Zealand rugby league international who took his son to England as a boy while he pursued his career, said honours were even.

“It’s a shame there has to be a loser,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

“England did not win the Cricket World Cup final and the Black Caps did not lose it,” an editorial of the News website said.

Former New Zealand bowler Daniel Vettori said it “feels unfortunate” the final was decided on boundaries scored but the Black Caps had to accept the rules.

Agence France-Presse

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