Following and enthralling rollercoaster of a match, England beat New Zealand (on the number of boundaries scored) to lift the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup and stamp their place in English folklore alongside the 1966 football team and 2003 rugby union team. There certainly has been no cricket game that can even be compared to that in recent memory, even more so when considered on the stage it was on- the biggest game in world cricket.
All this made the image of Eoin Morgan lifting the World Cup and even more sweet sight to savour for all. What this picture also tells though is the story of inclusion in the England cricket team, and without this inclusivity the World Cup dream would not be possible.
The picture of England lifting the World Cup displays captain Eoin Morgan raising the trophy. Morgan was born in Dublin and even played for Ireland in the earlier stages of his international career. Behind Morgan is Jofra Archer, who similarly was not born in England, but Barbados. The 24-year old bowler who was able to hold his nerve in the super-over, took the World Cup by storm, taking 17 wickets throughout the tournament. The same can be said for other members of the team: Ben Stokes, who put in a match-winning 84 not out, was ironically born in New Zealand. Jason Roy who accumulated over 550 runs at the World Cup and Tom Curran were born in South Africa, whist Moeen Ali and spinner, Adil Rashid- who claimed 10 wickets are both the grandsons of Pakistani immigrants. Furthermore, the overseer of the 2019 World Cup project- England coach, Trevor Bayliss was born in Australia. The overall picture is one of inclusivity and diversity in the England squad. This diversity was recognised by Morgan after the final, ‘we had Allah with us as well…It actually epitomises our team. Quite diverse backgrounds and cultures.’
England cricket has had issues with diverse background representing the country in its past though. Indian born Nasser Hussain was booed by English fans in 1999, when he took over the captaincy. Yet a similar, although less active form of exclusion can be seen 20 years on. In the Independent, Jonathan Liew quoted the BBC’s heralded cricket journalist Jonathan Agnew on his scepticism over Archer’s call-up to the World Cup squad, where he expresses concern over the subtle prejudices that remain in our society: ‘A huge call… Morale and camaraderie is a big part in team performance.’. Of course, it is now unfathomable that Archer’s selection could be called into question, thanks to his super-over heroics. But it is less certain whether this had been the case had Guptill made it back for two and won New Zealand the World Cup at Archer’s expense. Although one hopes the World Cup heroics by all those in the England squad teaches us a lesson on the value of diversity and inclusion .