That day, that year: when the ICC World Cup returned to England

Cricket - Morgan

Eoin Morgan, the English captain who won the 2019 World Cup, with the writer.
Image credit: photo provided

It was two years ago today (July 14, 2019) when England finally got their hands on the 50-year-old World Cup in a thrilling final at cricket’s home at Lord’s. After the game was tied he went to the Super Over which was also tied but England won on their limit count which was better than the Kiwis.

The ICC World Cup had eluded England since its inception in 1975 and England had lost three times in the final – in 1979 against the West Indies, in 1987 against Australia and then in 1992 when they were favorites to win it but Pakistan of Imran Khan defeated them in the end in Melbourne.

In a frank conversation with me, Eoin Morgan, the England skipper, said his team had had a disastrous 2015 World Cup where they crashed in the Championship and it was a challenge for him and his team will turn things around over the next four years.

Morgan first explained how they changed the brand of cricket after the 2015 World Cup, which was more bat dominated when they started playing a fearless and aggressive brand of cricket. It was not reckless but controlled, where they could bridge the gap between the other teams and he credited Andrew Strauss, who was the boss of English cricket and gave him and his support staff all the freedom to express themselves in the field.

England cricket

One for the album: The victorious members of the England squad with Eoin Morgan seated with the winners’ trophy.
Image Credit: Reuters File

It all started with the New Zealand home series where they took this approach for the first time and it gave them success – they had the conviction and confidence to play this style of cricket and England were the only team to score more than 300 points 24 times in this span and also recorded scores of 400 on four occasions – which was a feat in itself.

When the World Cup came to England in 2019, they were favorites to win the title, but England had their problems and reportedly missed qualifying for the semi-finals as they lost three league games to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia – and had to win the last two league games to qualify for the last four.

Morgan shared an important anecdote from the team’s reunion ahead of the crucial game against India in which he quoted Joe Root as saying: “England are only four games away from World Cup victory. “.

When England reached the final the word went around: ‘It’s Coming Home’ and when I asked Morgan if that put extra pressure on his team he admitted it wasn’t like any team England in the last 44 years of its history, had won the final, but his team were ready to make history to win the World Cup.

He said it was a grand finale that still gives him goosebumps. It seemed unreal that England won it as the game fluctuated and no team were looking ahead and it was a final fans around the world will remember.

Well, the European Cup never came home this year like it was in Rome, but the ICC World Cup finally came home for English fans in 2019.

– Anis Sajan, passionate cricketer and businessman, is vice-president of the Danube group

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