It says something about the mentality of news editors that Matt Hancock’s exploits in the Australian jungle are deemed more newsworthy than England winning the T20 Cricket World Cup, to add to the 50 over World Cup they already hold. In the modern era, news is generally all about bad news and God forbid we get some good news to cheer us all up!!
One of my favourite sporting occasions over the years has been watching the England cricket team play in the West Indies. I have generally found the five-day game is too much to keep my concentration and I rely on the TV highlight’s programmes but the excitement of the 50-over game and particularly the 20-over game is far more watchable and that has ignited my interest in the sport, as has The Hundred.
On Sunday, England deservedly won the T20 World Cup with our talisman Ben Stokes once again getting us over the finishing line as he has done on so many occasions before in all forms of cricket. He is a genuine sporting hero, and he has already written himself into the annals of English cricket history.
Whatever the sport, you need to have real mental strength to win when playing in front of partisan home crowds. On Sunday at the MCG, England achieved victory despite 90% of the 80,000-crowd cheering on Pakistan and England’s performance ultimately kept the crowd very quiet. particularly in the latter stages of the game when victory was effectively assured.
Chasing 138 in front of that noisy and enthusiastic Pakistan-supporting crowd, England fell to 45-3 and 84-4 amid some of the most effective fast bowling you will see anywhere in the world. Just when the game looked in the balance, enter Ben Stokes who was calmness personified as he hit a polished 52 not out and victory was secured with one over remaining. Just as in 2019 50-over World Cup final, there he was once again at the end ensuring his country secured the win. In years to come our children and grandchildren will ask just how good he was, and he will rightly be remembered as a legend of the game.
The win wasn’t all just down to Stokes, and you have to acknowledge superb bowling performances from both Player of the Tournament Sam Curran and Adil Rashid.
The success is all the more praiseworthy when you consider England suffered a shock rain-affected defeat by Ireland and a weather-related postponement against Australia in the group stage, so England needed to win all their remaining games to lift the trophy, just as they did in the 2019 50-over World Cup.
The BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year will be interesting this year with the Women’s Team winning the Euros in the summer and now the England Cricket Team’s success. And who knows, we might just have the men winning the World Cup in Qatar in December.
This could be one of the greatest ever years for sporting achievement in this country but for now let the news media go back to focusing on the Australian jungle!!