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Sports

July 12, 2019

Morgan relishing playing World Cup final at home

Sports

Fri, Jul 12, 2019

LONDON: Cricket originated in south-east England and was once the country’s national sport.

But that’s a story of the past.

Cricket isn’t the national pastime anymore. It’s just a summer sport that is either played by the rich or by Britons of Asian origin in this football-mad country.

But all of that could change if Eoin Morgan and his men lift the ICC World Cup at Lord’s on Sunday.

Already their ascent to the World Cup final has ignited a renewed interest in cricket. Sunday’s final would be on free-to-air TV, which means the whole nation would be able to see the Lions taking their first shot at the World Cup title since their 1992 defeat against Pakistan in Melbourne.

England have never won the World Cup but they will begin as hot favourites for the title on Sunday especially after their eight-wicket thrashing of old foes and defending champions Australia in Thursday’s semi-final at Edgbaston.

Morgan, the England captain, is relishing the opportunity of playing in front of a home crowd and a record TV audience.

“Very cool,” replied Morgan when asked about how the team feels about playing in front of a big TV audience.

He related it to the summer of 2015 when England thrashed Australia in the Ashes. Cricket, he stressed, has once again become cool in England.

“Particularly given the 2005 Ashes for me was sort of the day cricket became cool. Throughout the whole summer, the game was on the front and back page of every newspaper going around, everyone was talking about and it that is really good for the game and it's the game I love so it's great news that it's on free-to-air,” he said.

England are being seen as overwhelming favorites to win the title but Morgan made it clear that his team was wary of dangerous New Zealand, especially after the way they dismantled a potent Indian batting line-up in an 18-run semi-final victory on Wednesday.

“I thought India were completely done and dusted after the early wickets that New Zealand took. They bowled extremely well and took their opportunities,” Morgan remarked about the semi-final at Old Trafford.

“I think New Zealand throughout the whole tournament has been probably the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages. I think their performance in the semifinal was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it.”