England’s World Cup winning side have come so far… now keep going!

England’s Cricket World Cup winning side have come so far… now let’s keep going!

  • England completed a four-year transformation with victory in the World Cup
  • Lord’s was a fitting stage for the perfect day – the atmosphere was amazing
  • Andrew Strauss said ‘enough’ after last World Cup and backed Eoin Morgan
  • There are always areas to work on but let’s be grateful for where we are at

English cricket deserved its day in the sun at Lord’s. Our game has come an awful long way and has a lot to be proud of and this England team have taken that to another level.

Lord’s was a fitting stage for the perfect day. It can provide a corporate scene compared to the passion of the likes of Edgbaston but the atmosphere was amazing.

At the end, as I walked across the ground for the presentation, it was jumping and not a single person had moved from their seats. They all wanted to see Eoin Morgan lift the trophy and reflect on the most amazing game of cricket they will ever see.

England’s World Cup winning side celebrate their glorious victory at the Oval on Monday

Eoin Morgan’s side beat New Zealand in a thriller to win their first ever Cricket World Cup 

There has been a lot of negativity around cricket and it receives stick at times, but if you take a step back and think about what has been achieved in the last decade then it does not compare with, say, my generation.

England, remember, have not lost the Ashes at home since 2001. They won the World Twenty20 in 2010 and went to the top of the world Test rankings in 2011.

They won the Ashes away under Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower in 2010-11, reached another World T20 final in 2016 and now, gloriously, have won the World Cup for the first time after four years of planning and investment in 50-over cricket.

England have world-class players any other nation would love. People such as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and an outstanding captain in Eoin Morgan. England, truly, are the envy of the world.

In the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, England have players any other nation would love

Then look at the strength of Test cricket and how we sell out our venues. The success of the women’s game and that wonderful day back at Lord’s two years when they won the World Cup. I have seen the legacy of that win at close hand because my daughter plays cricket and I see more girls like her doing so and wanting to play. We should be shouting about these achievements from the rooftops.

It was apt we had Andrew Strauss in the commentary box at Lord’s because he was the architect of this triumph. It was Strauss who said ‘enough’s enough’ after the last World Cup and backed Morgan to put things right. He said we had to prioritise white-ball cricket after decades of putting Tests first.

England got the right people at the helm in Morgan and coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace. They started selecting better and turned it around, culminating with Sunday.

Strauss has been through so much after the loss of Ruth, his wife, and it was lovely to see him on Sunday. It clearly meant so much to him and he was an emotional wreck by the end, shouting for every run.

All-rounder Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer played crucial roles in the incredible super over 

All this huge improvement since those days has been made possible by the broadcasting deals of the last 14 years, which have not just made this happen but also kept the 18-county system healthy and even in existence.

When I played, our captain at Essex, Keith Fletcher, would tell Graham Gooch not to hit the balls out of the nets too often because our secretary, Peter Edwards, would complain about the cost of buying new ones.

Yes, I know I commentate for Sky but I honestly feel this extraordinary World Cup win should give everyone the opportunity to take stock, have a look at what we have and use it as a springboard for more.

It was a great gesture from Sky to make coverage available to Channel 4 on Sunday. But let us not pretend the answer to any drop in participation levels would be to make all our cricket free-to-air. The game should be careful what it wishes for.

It was Andrew Strauss who said ‘enough’s enough’ after the last World Cup and backed Morgan

England skipper Morgan lets children hold the World Cup trophy at the Oval on Monday

For starters, terrestrial channels are not exactly queuing up to buy the rights to cricket and they do not have the platforms to show 10 hours of cricket a day.

Children and teenagers consume their television in different ways, too, and frankly just do not sit for hours on end watching cricket on television, like people of my generation did. It is all about their devices and clips and a different way of consuming sport.

Of course, there are always areas to work on and of course there is an issue with kids stopping playing when they get to 16 or 17, as there are so many other things out there competing for their time. But it is certainly not all doom and gloom and sometimes perhaps we should all remember that.

Sunday was that reminder. Let’s be grateful for where we are at. Let’s be grateful for days like Sunday. It takes investment. And let’s relish it.

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