On Sunday, the England Men’s cricket team lifted the ICC World Cup Trophy for the first time.
It was a truly wonderful, if nerve wracking, final at Lord’s to round off a fantastic tournament. It ebbed and flowed between England and New Zealand and it’s such a shame that only one team can triumph. That’s sport, but both teams can be mightily proud of having produced some of the best one day cricket any of us shall ever see.
Rather than citing the triumph as the end of a four year journey, this England team views it as the start of what will hopefully become a golden era of their brand of exciting cricket and dominance. But more importantly, they, in fact we all, hope that it will lay the foundations and inspire the next generation of players – from all countries.
I love cricket – both watching and playing. I first picked up my father’s bat when I was three years old – it was almost as tall as me! My 11th Christmas present was annual coaching from the then star coaches at Somerset County Cricket Club and for my 15th birthday I was given a net so we could play properly in the garden (I still have this net and I will bowl a few balls in it later today). I grew up studying the styles of my hero players – Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner and was lucky enough to represent my school, my county, my universities and was also selected for my country as a junior.
Nowadays, village and pub cricket is my summer staple. It’s great fun, a slower pace, still competitive and we sometimes get tea! We play mixed teams – men, women, boys and girls – and it’s especially nice to see more girls playing from a younger age which will develop their skills better.
So, the appetite for this wonderful game is there, and the current pool of next generation players seems pretty healthy – all encouraged by favourite professional stars and local mentors alike. Let’s hope that we can build on that.