In what was an absolute humdinger of a cricket World Cup final, England finally lifted the coveted trophy and became the new ODI champions. Commiserations to runners-up New Zealand who played hard and smart. In fact, there was nothing separating the two teams. For the first time in the history of the ODI World Cup at this stage there was a tie at the end of 50 overs with the English batsmen scoring the same 241 runs that the Kiwis had put on. Again for the first time, there was a super over in a World Cup final. Even that couldn’t separate the two teams as New Zealand scored the same 15 runs as England in the allotted one over.
But alas, it was England who were crowned champions on account of the number of boundaries scored – a controversial rule about which I am sure much will be written. But to be honest England were one of the favourites throughout this tournament and played good cricket. They deserved to be in the final and despite the slightly odd way in which they won it, no one will grudge them this success.
Having said that, what truly stands out in this English team is its sheer diversity. This was a team full of migrants or those with connections to migrant families. To begin with it had an Irish captain in Eoin Morgan. The player of the match in the final was Ben Stokes who was actually born in New Zealand. The explosive opening batsman Jason Roy is from South Africa. Both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have Pakistani roots, and 24-year-old pace sensation Jofra Archer is from Barbados. The sheer diversity in this English team is in stark contrast to the whole migration issue that is wracking British politics today. As Britain tries to find its way out of the Brexit imbroglio – an impulse for which has been rising anti-immigration sentiments – it is perhaps poetic justice that a team full of people with immigrant backgrounds just won England its very first cricket World Cup.
” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />
Which goes to show the power of diversity and how migrants enrich a society. In fact, several studies have shown that migrants are net contributors to a host country’s economy and successes. Yet, latent xenophobia often rears its ugly head to create polemics and cast migrants as outsiders. This kind of thinking conveniently overlooks the fact that we are actually all migrants – we have all come from somewhere else. And the more diversity a society has, the more likely it is to succeed. People often point to difficulties associated with integrating migrants to justify their nativist positions. But I believe that a welcoming approach on the part of the host society can smoothen the process of integration, enriching both the host culture and the culture of the migrants. And allowing room for such synthesis creates talent, creativity and skills. As the English cricket team has shown, migrants are assets that can propel a nation to great heights.