ICC Cricket World Cup Diary | The Daily Star
Body: 

England all-rounder Ben Stokes, the hero of the final for the hosts as they clinched their maiden World Cup title, said that he will be apologising to Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson for the rest of his life after his accidental nudge with the bat led to one of the most critical moments in the game.

With England needing nine runs off three deliveries, Stokes struck one towards mid-wicket, and while going for a double, his bat came in the way of Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep. The ball ricocheted off his bat as he dived at the non-striker’s end and it went to the boundary. England were awarded six runs and they went on to seal the match in Super Over following more drama.

After the match, Christchurch-born Stokes said: “I am pretty lost for words. All the hard work to get here and be world champions, it’s an amazing feeling. Playing against New Zealand is always a good event, they are good lads.”

“I will be apologising to Kane for the rest of my life [re: the overthrow for the six]…It was written in the stars to happen for us,” Stokes added.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson pointed to luck not working in his side’s favour after the game.

“That [Stokes’s accidental boundary] was a little bit of a shame, wasn’t it? You just hope it doesn’t happen at moments like that. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be for us,” Williamson said.

Body: 

The Hilton located five miles to the west of Southampton is an attractive destination. It is a pretty swanky hotel in a quiet, lush green and spacious setting. There is an 18-hole golf course directly opposite the main entrance to the hotel and all the luxury trappings one may expect from a good hotel -- spa, pool and restaurants.

Although a fair way away from the Southampton town centre, the hotel has all one would need for a weekend getaway. The golf course is to the north of the hotel and the wide open acres certainly present a pleasant view for guests at the hotel. But if you booked a south-facing room, the view would not be too shabby. You could just go to the balcony, take a seat and watch high-level cricket taking place inside a magnificent stadium.

For the sake of the reveal, and knowing that it is the sports page, the name of the Hilton has been held back. Starting with ‘Ageas Bowl Hilton’ would have given it away for cricket fans. While having hotels, boarding facilities or apartment buildings as part of stadiums is not the most surprising thing in the world, it is the juxtaposition of the two seemingly independent entities that inspires some wonder at the Ageas Bowl.

The stadium, where Bangladesh will play Afghanistan in their World Cup match today, is not like others in England. It seems a proper stadium and not a cricket ground. The arena is pleasingly circular, not with enormous square boundaries like Cardiff or oddly misshapen ones like Trent Bridge. While those idiosyncrasies add to the charm of cricket in England, the Ageas Bowl stands out because it is normal. The Hilton, a globally recognised brand, is expected to be a standalone hotel, not one where you may be woken up by a particularly big hit crashing through your window. Yet, when you step out of the press box and head towards the lift, there are two corridors of hotel rooms stretching out on both sides.

Of course, Hilton has used their financial acumen in maximising profits. For ‘Pitchview’ rooms, the check-in is 3:00pm and the checkout is 9:00 am. In other words, if you are here to watch the cricket, better book for two days.

 

Body: 

Wallpaper in the flesh, or stone

The miserable weather that has hit much of England over the past week is a bane for cricketers looking to practise ahead of matches, and when matches are abandoned themselves -- like Bangladesh’s against Sri Lanka in Bristol on June 11 -- it only gets worse. For touring sports journalists it is a bane because without much cricketing action, practice or otherwise, there is not often a lot to write about. The good thing for touring journalists is that, without much cricketing action, practice or otherwise, there is not often a lot to write about.

That opens up possibilities to do a bit of sightseeing and Taunton offered the opportunity to make the 60-mile drive to the east to visit Stonehenge. For those old enough to remember, as well as being the subject of many documentaries and posters, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire was an iconic wallpaper on Windows 95, which lent a nostalgic element to visiting a site and monuments that are up to 5,000 years old.

The centrepiece of Stonehenge, the entirety of which covers an area of 26 square kilometres, is of course the ring of standing stones arranged in a circle that has engendered many theories surrounding its creation, including those of alien intervention.

Today, 13-feet high stones arranged in a circle may not immediately induce awe, but considering that the main site -- there are other simpler monuments dotted across the wide open landscape -- was built at around 2200 BC, the scale of the construction is awe-inspiring. The function of the stones, the method of creation is all up for debate. All that can be ascertained around 4,000 years later is that the structure is aligned to the sunset in winter solstice and the opposing sunrise in summer solstice. As with everything, the group of Bangladeshi journos were undecided about whether the trip was worth it based on just the stone circle, but there was agreement that it was worth it to see a wallpaper in the flesh -- or stone.

The drive

For this reporter, however, getting to Stonehenge and back was almost as big a treat as seeing the prehistoric site because, having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous Dhaka traffic, it was an opportunity to drive a car in a land where laws are actually obeyed. But by the end of the day, that had also proved to have its downsides. Making our way back to our hotel from Taunton town centre through the motorway was a veritable odyssey. Having completely surrendered ourselves to Google Maps, we were sent round and round because, as we realised after the second trip back from nowhere, the motorway that serviced our hotel was shut down for repair work (even though it seemed perfectly fine earlier in the day). In Bangladesh, we would just have gone the wrong way.

Otherwise driving was a pleasure. The biggest adjustment, of course, was actually paying attention to red lights and sticking to a lane, failing which the dirty looks from fellow motorists hurt as much as verbal abuse from bus drivers back home.

The only worry is, when we get back home, I will have to cop the verbal abuse when I alone am halted in front of a red light on Bijoy Sarani.

 

Body: 

Jason Holder will lead West Indies in the 2019 World Cup as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced the squad late on Wednesday.

Big-hitting batsman Chris Gayle will be playing his fifth World Cup as the squad comprises some big names like Andre Russell, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Kemar Roach to name a few. Russel has played only one ODI since 2015.

Kieron Pollard

The flamboyant Kieron Pollard, veteran batmsman Marlon Samuels and star spinner Sunil Narine are some of the big names missing from the 15-member provisional squad.

The squad was picked by the newly appointed interim selection panel. The panel is chaired by Robert Haynes, along with Jimmy Adams and West Indies’ newly appointed coach Floyd Reifer.

Speaking after announcing the squad, Robert said, “The selection panel looked at the skill set of the players and the combinations. We have looked at the wickets that have been used in England in the past, players’ fitness and their urge to represent West Indies. We came up with a balanced team who will represent West Indies in England.”

SQUAD: Jason Holder (captain), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer