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England's triumphant squad have received plenty of praise since lifting the Cricket World Cup - and now they have been honoured with a one-of-a-kind championship belt from an unlikely fan.

As a 14-time champion, WWE superstar Triple H knows a thing or two about winning in big situations. And the man with a finishing move called the 'Pedigree' was certainly impressed with the standards shown by Eoin Morgan's side against New Zealand on Sunday, when the tournament hosts prevailed following a dramatic Super Over at the home of cricket.

The wrestler, whose real name is Paul Levesque, tweeted out a message of congratulations to the new ODI champions, along with a picture of a customised world heavyweight championship belt made to mark their success.

"An incredible tournament, an awe-inspiring final, and a team of worthy champions. Congratulations to England Cricket for winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019! This custom WWE Championship is YOURS!" Triple H wrote.

The unique strap includes the words "World Cup champions", with the England and Wales Cricket Board's official logo appearing twice, placed either side of the central WWE badge.

However, the generous gift to mark England's achievement does create a problem - who gets to keep it?

Jos Buttler, who was in partnership with Ben Stokes in the middle during England's Super Over, had an on-topic suggestion to decide the owner, tweeting: "Royal rumble lads last man standing keeps the belt?" 

If Buttler's idea comes to fruition, Morgan and his team-mates would have to forget about boundary ropes and focus on the top rope instead. Perhaps Triple H could make an appearance during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to crown England's new wrestling champion, too.

The Game at a game of cricket? We can only hope...

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, less than a week after dashing the Black Caps' Cricket World Cup dreams.

Stokes was instrumental in England's thrilling triumph at Lord's on Sunday, scoring an unbeaten 84 to force a Super Over and then making eight off three balls in the additional six deliveries as Eoin Morgan's side won an all-time classic on boundary count.

In an incident-packed innings, Stokes was caught by Trent Boult in the deep during the penultimate over only for the fielder to step on the rope with the ball in hand, and in the final over England's number five dived and accidentally diverted Martin Guptill's throw to the boundary with his bat, resulting in another crucial six runs.

However, despite playing a pivotal role in beating the Black Caps, Stokes, who was born in Christchurch and moved to England at the age of 12, has still received votes for the New Zealander of the Year award.

"We also received nominations for England's hero Ben Stokes," chief judge Cameron Bennett said in quotes published on the New Zealand Herald's website.

"He might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch, where his parents now live, and with Maori ancestry, there's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him."

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson - voted player of the tournament at the World Cup - is also up for the award, along with Abdul Aziz, who chased away a gunman after 51 people were killed in a terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Former England captain David Gower does not wholly subscribe to the belief the Cricket World Cup triumph will drastically alter the state of the game in the country as some are anticipating.

Eoin Morgan's side captured the attention of the nation with a dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday – the hosts prevailing due to their superior boundary count after the scores were level at the end of both regulation play and a Super Over.

The success was England's first triumph in the men's 50-over World Cup, while the final being shown on free-to-air television in the UK ensured the thrilling contest was available to a wider audience with millions of viewers tuning in.

In the aftermath, several members of the cricketing fraternity suggested the win would have a positive impact on the game up and down the country but Gower – who played a combined 231 Tests and ODIs across a 14-year international career – is not so sure.

"A lot of people will be jumping up and down saying this will change the whole face of English cricket. I think that's a bit over optimistic," he told Omnisport.

"I think it is brilliant for cricket to have the team on the front pages, it is brilliant for [captain] Eoin Morgan, who deserves every bit of kudos coming his way. It is brilliant for all the players involved, likewise, and for a week or so we will have cricket on the front pages.

"The honest truth underneath it all is for the next generation of potential cricketers to be inspired and given the chance to learn the game and be part of the game, there are a lot of things that need fixing at the lower levels of the game. And schools that don't play cricket are not going to give kids a chance to play cricket.

"Put it this way, from my very special, privileged outlook, I had a father and mother who both bowled to me in the garden, I had schools – admittedly, private schools – where the game was important, therefore without having to bust a gut I had everything there for me to learn and get better at the game.

"If your school literally does not play cricket, then you have to get dad to take you to a club, the club has to have facilities and volunteers. There are two sides to this. There's a lot of very good stuff happening out there and a lot of very passionate people trying to promote the game of cricket amongst younger people.

"There's Chance to Shine, but Chance to Shine is in very little danger of producing a Test cricketer in the next two years. There's a lot of effort going in but there are a lot of things that need fixing too."

Asked if the expected pressure for change in light of England's win would pay dividends, Gower replied: "Pressure is one thing, but results are another.

"There are schools who used to play cricket that have given up on it. I'd love to bang the drum for the sport that has given me my life, really, and I'm happy to say very hopeful things, but it cannot change a lot of other things, like funding for schools, land.

"You know, if you've sold off your land, the land that might be a cricket pitch, then that's rather it, isn't it?"


David Gower is touring theatres in October and November with his sell-out show 'On The Front Foot'. Buy your tickets from www.david-gower.com.

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts has hailed star batsman Chris Gayle as one of the game’s ‘great players’ but is convinced the time is right to walk away.

The 39-year-old Gayle had initially revealed plans to retire from international cricket following the ICC World Cup but seemed to have a change of heart just ahead of the tournament.  The batsman instead targeted the regional team’s home series against India as possibly his final matches for the West Indies.

The batsman did not, however, have an outstanding World Cup, scoring a total of 242 runs in nine matches as the team limped to a ninth-place finish.  Roberts, however, does not believe the player’s form merits immediate selection to the squad for the series.

“I watched Chris in the One Day series in the Caribbean [against England], I watched Chris in the World Cup and I am yet to see Chris Gayle play a cover drive on the ground in any of the innings he has played off the front foot. He takes his time early and I don’t know the reason because I’ve seen in the early that he gets a lot of balls to hit but he’s just playing himself in and then after that he just tries to hit everything out the ground and I don’t think youngsters can learn from that,” Roberts told the Antigua Observer.

“Chris has been one of our great players and I make no bones in saying that, but the time has come that we have to let the greatness speak for itself instead of trying to go on to achieve what he didn’t do because most West Indians were hoping that he would do.”

Former director of cricket Andrew Strauss wants England to succeed where they failed in the wake of 2005 Ashes glory and build a dynasty off the back of their Cricket World Cup triumph.

Strauss was part of the side that defeated Australia 2-1 in a thrilling home series 14 years ago and was then a key figure behind the scenes as England ripped up their white-ball strategy following a humiliating group-stage exit at the World Cup in 2015.

Having been forced to step down from his director role last year to support his wife Ruth, who was being treated for terminal cancer, Strauss witnessed the culmination of his planning as Eoin Morgan's men edged New Zealand in an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

But Strauss issued a warning to the side ahead of the Ashes starting next month on the back of his own experiences as a player, when the Test side failed to win any of the three series following that famous 2005 win, before being whitewashed 5-0 in Australia when the battle for the urn was renewed in 2006-07.

"I think there are a lot of similarities there," Strauss told Omnisport at the world premiere of 'The Edge'. "I think the lesson from 2005 is that was a high watermark and then we retreated back again.

"We need to make this a sort of stepping stone to even bigger and better things. You can't beat winning a World Cup but you can create a dynasty for yourself in terms of performance.

"But not just performance, how you are. We want our players to be people that people want to aspire to be. I think we've got a great group of players that are able to do that."

Two of England's World Cup heroes, Jason Roy and Jofra Archer, are set to make the transition to the Test format – although the latter will only do so once he has recovered from a side strain.

And Strauss sees no reason why the pair, full of confidence after Sunday's dramatic victory, cannot transfer their skills to the longer form.

"I'm not sure either of them are actually white-ball specialists," Strauss added. "I think they've played white-ball cricket up until now, I think both of them are really well-seasoned to play Test cricket.

"It's not going to be easy, Test cricket is a different game and it challenges you in different ways as well, but I think they'll be incredibly confident.

"They've done it on the biggest stage of all which is a great hurdle to overcome, and we've got a great opportunity to beat the Aussies again, so let's take it."

Jason Roy's "bravado" will help transfer his form from 50-over cricket to the Test format, according to England fielding coach Paul Collingwood.

Roy was one of the heroes of England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, contributing to the key run out of Martin Guptill from the final ball of the Super Over as the hosts defeated New Zealand courtesy of a superior boundary count at the end of an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

And the opener's batting was a major factor throughout the tournament, scoring his 443 runs from just seven innings at a strike rate of more than 115, setting the tone for England with a typically belligerent approach alongside Jonny Bairstow.

Roy's form has earned a maiden Test call-up as England prepare to face Ireland over four days next week before the start of the Ashes against Australia on August 1, and Collingwood has no doubts the Surrey batsman's coursing confidence will aid his adaptation to the longer form.

"White-ball cricket and red-ball cricket are completely different ends of the spectrum," Collingwood told Omnisport, speaking at the world premiere of 'The Edge'.

"But if he can bring that kind of that form, and that confidence and bravado that he brings to that white-ball game, I'm sure he'll be able to go out there and succeed.

"He can quickly take a game away from the opposition if he gets on a roll, so it's exciting times to see people like that come into the side."

Ian Bell, a former Ashes winner alongside Collingwood, echoed his old team-mate's sentiments.

"I was really impressed actually at times with Jason Roy because even though he hasn't batted at the top of the order for Surrey, I thought there were times at the World Cup when the ball did move around and technically he played as well as anyone," Bell told Omnisport.

"He has an opportunity… when you face Australia in the Ashes it's high pressure and they've got one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket right now. It will be a challenge but there's no doubt he's got the ability to do something very special."

Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad have appointed a new head coach in Trevor Bayliss, who will leave his role with England after the Ashes.

The Sunrisers have parted ways with former incumbent Tom Moody and will replace him with Bayliss, who led England to Cricket World Cup glory, culminating in Sunday's dramatic final against New Zealand at Lord's.

Bayliss joined England in 2015 but it has long been known that he will step down when his contract expires in September, following the five-Test series against the country of his birth, Australia.

Black Caps star Trent Boult said "sorry for letting everyone down" following New Zealand's heartbreaking loss to England in the Cricket World Cup final.

New Zealand were agonisingly denied by England in a dramatic decider at Lord's on Sunday – the World Cup hosts prevailing due to their superior boundary count after a Super Over.

Both New Zealand and England made 241 from 50 overs and 15 in the subsequent Super Over shoot-out as the latter prevailed by the smallest of margins for their maiden World Cup title.

After arriving back in New Zealand on Thursday, paceman Boult told reporters: "It's been a long flight home but it [the defeat] probably hasn't sunk in yet.

"I wish it would, so we can all get over it but it's one of those things that we probably won't get over for a long time."

Boult added: "We've just been on a plane 15 hours and there were a lot of Kiwis saying 'we felt for you'. I didn't really know what to say.

"Obviously, we're all hurting and we're sorry for letting everyone down. I just want to get home, walk my dog along the beach and try to forget about it but it's gonna be a hard one to swallow for the next couple of years."

A Super Over was required at Lord's after an extraordinary moment of luck helped England during the closing stages of their run chase.

Ben Stokes inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary rope, meaning England were sensationally awarded six runs as he raced back to complete a second run with nine needed from three balls

"It's natural to nitpick, to wonder about all those little things and how it could have been a totally different game," Boult said.

"I've been living that last over in my mind a lot – somehow I got hit for six along the ground which has never happened before. To see the scores level [after the Super Over] and still lose, yeah, that was a pretty unique situation."

Boult was involved in a heartbreaking moment of his own after taking a catch off England all-rounder Stokes, only to step on the boundary rope and concede six runs.

"The priority in that situation is on the ball itself, so that was all I was worried about. It was silly of me not to know where the rope was. It was similar to the catch against the West Indies earlier in the tournament but they're quite quirky boundaries over there [at Lord's]. They're not circles, they're kind of octagons and squares and all sorts of things.

"You can imagine the feeling when my left shoe hit the cushion and it was too late to throw the ball to Marty [Guptill]. There were probably 27,000 intoxicated Poms in there screaming as the ball went up, so I couldn't hear anything Marty was saying."

Former England captain David Gower supports the decision to hand Jason Roy a Test call-up with the Ashes looming.

After starring at the top of the order in his country's victorious Cricket World Cup campaign, Roy was named in England's Test squad for the first time on Wednesday, as part of a 13-man party to face Ireland at Lord's next week.

The 28-year-old Surrey batsman, who averages 38 in first-class cricket, now looks certain to open in the first Test against Australia, starting on August 1, having earned selection through his excellent form in limited-overs cricket.

Gower told Omnisport: "Detractors will say that Jason Roy's first-class career has been nothing like his one-day international career. I put something out on Twitter weeks ago now saying 'the talent this man is, can we not adapt him to Test cricket?'

"There are people like David Warner who have successfully become great Test players having been one-day players; there are people like Rohit Sharma who will never play a Test match for India again despite the fact he's just got five hundreds in the World Cup, so it doesn't work for everyone.

"But we [England] don't have particularly great alternatives. My view is that if it works it will be fantastic. If it takes a while to get going, or if it takes him a while to learn the ropes of being a Test match player, then actually we're no worse off than we are at the moment.

"I would happily endorse him as a real talent, who with a bit of luck and hard work could knuckle down to it."

Fast bowler Jofra Archer - another standout member of England's victorious World Cup team - has also been tipped to play a role in the Ashes, although he will miss the Test against Ireland due to a side strain.

"Again, Jofra is an extraordinary talent, he's a brilliant talent," added Gower, a member of the England team that reached the 1979 World Cup final.

"While one would be careful maybe about his workload, as they are about all England's bowlers, which is only sensible, again he is such a beautiful raw talent that I would have him in the side."

 

- David Gower is touring theatres in October and November with his sell-out show 'On The Front Foot'. Buy your tickets from www.david-gower.com.

Jason Roy is set to make his Test debut for England against Ireland, putting him in line for an Ashes call-up next month.

Star batsman Roy is yet to feature in the longest format at international level but was vital to hosts England's Cricket World Cup triumph.

His form in that tournament has earned him a first shot at Test cricket, selected among 13 players to face Ireland in a four-day contest at Lord's with Olly Stone and Lewis Gregory the other uncapped men to earn a spot.

The trio are also included in a 16-man group for a pre-Ashes camp.

There is good news for England, too, with James Anderson's inclusion in the squad, the experienced bowler having recovered from a calf tear.

However, Jofra Archer, another waiting for a Test bow, and Mark Wood are both suffering with side strains.

Wood is set for four to six weeks out while Archer will have a period of rest and return from Barbados later this month, with national selector Ed Smith stating the latter will be out "for a while".

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler - stars of the World Cup success - have also been granted leave until the pre-Ashes camp ahead of the August 1 opener.

The four-day clash with Ireland begins on July 24.

 

England squad in full for Ireland Test: Joe Root, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

England squad in full for pre-Ashes camp: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Andrew Strauss believes Eoin Morgan will need to take time to consider his future as England's one-day captain in the wake of their Cricket World Cup triumph.

Having been appointed as skipper shortly before a shambolic 2015 World Cup for England, Morgan has overseen a stunning turnaround in fortunes that culminated with Sunday's dramatic final victory over New Zealand at Lord's.

A day on from that win, outgoing head coach Trevor Bayliss backed the middle-order batsman to lead the team in next year's ICC T20 World Cup, which will take place in Australia.

Former England captain Strauss feels much will depend on whether Morgan - an ex-team-mate of his at Middlesex, as well as at international level - has the motivation to continue after achieving his primary goal.

Strauss, who also served as managing director of England Cricket before stepping down in 2018, told Sky Sports: "There is no doubt that if he wants to carry on then he will have incredible support from his team-mates, from the ECB and from the nation.

"All he needs to do is reflect and think about what's next for him and what's his motivation and drive and desire.

"If he has got that motivation then 100 per cent carry on but if he hasn't then pause for thought, because the only reason that we won the World Cup is because he was so committed to what happened on Sunday. If that commitment is not there then it is a time for him to think."

Ravi Shastri's future as India's head coach is uncertain after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited applications for his role and a host of other positions within its coaching and support staff.

Interested applicants have until July 30 to apply for the roles of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager.

The contracts of the existing coaching staff, led by Shastri, initially expired following the Cricket World Cup, which India exited at the semi-final stage courtesy of a surprise defeat to eventual runners-up New Zealand.

However, Shastri, batting coach Sanjay Bangar, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar were handed extensions to cover India's tour of the West Indies in August.

In a statement, the BCCI confirmed "the current coaching staff of Team India (senior men) will get an automatic entry in the recruitment process".

The BCCI also revealed its eligibility criteria for those hoping to serve as head coach, a role the 57-year-old Shastri has held since 2017 after previously leading India as team director.

To stand a chance of being appointed, applicants must be under 60 years of age and boast at least two years of experience as head coach of a Test-playing nation or three years of experience at either Associate member, Indian Premier League, first-class or an equivalent level.

They should also have played in a minimum of 30 Test matches or 50 ODIs and hold a BCCI Level 3 certification or its equivalent.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead expects the ICC to review the rules that led to the Black Caps losing the Cricket World Cup final to England courtesy of an inferior boundary count.

In an extraordinary final at Lord's on Sunday, England ultimately prevailed after both teams had made 241 runs from 50 overs and 15 in the subsequent Super Over shootout.

Many observers felt another one-over eliminator would have represented a fairer way to decide the winners, rather than the champions being determined by the number of boundaries hit during the contest.

"I'm sure there's going to be many things they [the ICC] will look at over the whole tournament," Stead was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. "I'm sure when they're writing the rules they never expect the World Cup final to happen like that so I'm sure it'll be reviewed, absolutely."

"The technicalities and stuff around the rules, they're different in all tournaments. We knew what it was, we were just one run short. It's a very, very hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs and score the same amount of runs and still lose the game. But that's the technicalities of sport sometimes."

The Super Over was only required after England benefited from an extraordinary slice of good fortune towards the end of their initial run-chase.

As he raced back to complete a second run with nine needed from three balls, Ben Stokes inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary rope, ensuring England were awarded six runs.

Former umpire Simon Taufel claimed England should actually have been given five runs rather than six, as Stokes and Adil Rashid had not crossed at the point Martin Guptill threw the ball in.

"I didn't actually know that," said Stead. "At the end of the day the umpires are there to rule and they're human as well and like players sometimes errors are made.

"That's just the human aspect of sport and probably why we care so much as well."

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