World Cup Bridges A Split In The United Kingdom > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - The World Cup bridge for a divided United Kingdom

A cheeky sign at a World Cup warm-up game

A three-member street play group, clad in all black, put on an impromptu skit near one of the entrances to the Baker Street station on the London Underground on Sunday. The group, seemingly part of the 48 percenters that opted "remain", finished their short act with a plea for a second referendum. Those making the commute halted briefly, before moving on with indifference. At this point, even with British Prime Minister Theresa May quitting on June 7, a no-deal Brexit on October 31 seems a far more plausible outcome than no Brexit at all.

If a mirror were held up to England now, it will find itself wrapped in irony. The oldest imperialists, once famous for their "divide and rule", have found themselves split down the middle. They seek a quick break away from the European Union while simultaneously taking pride in this week's all-England football matchups at the two European Cup Finals - Liverpool vs Tottenham & Arsenal vs Chelsea.

In neighbouring Wales, which provided one of the foundations of the "Leave" campaign in 2016, the First Minister now prefers to stay on with EU even as the newly-formed Brexit Party sweeps European elections. The Spice Girls Re-Union show in Central Cardiff on the much-loved Bank Holiday Monday, brings the masses to the Welsh capital from distant parts of the country, but sees half the crowd walking away disgruntled, demanding a full refund on the tickets after the concert is beset by sound problems.

The paranoia in the British air, exacerbated by a cold spell over the past week, is weakly offset by punnery on radio talk shows: "The first week of June will also be the last week of May," a guest bellows to awkward laughter. It takes Judy Murray to give an optimistic update on son Andy's prospects of playing doubles at Wimbledon to ease the general tension.

It is in this climate that the Cricket World Cup arrives as saviour tonic for a brief respite. When Virat Kohli decided to take throw downs in front of the Grand Stand before the Bangladesh game, a rugby-loving Welsh steward was taken aback by the sudden clamour caused by fans running down the stands. He was informed, by an English journalist: "The World's best batsman is in town." On Tuesday night, India fans and a few others were spotted singing in the central squares with the gracious locals. Cardiff quickly submitted itself to World Cup.

But Cardiff will not see any more of Kohli. India are not scheduled to play any games in the main tournament. But they will get to see Kane Williamson and Hashim Amla later in the tournament. More importantly, on June 8, England will play a league game against Bangladesh. Shane Warne, who once predicted that the Welsh would not find it in them to support a team named England, could find his fears proved unfounded at the official merchandise store at Sophia Gardens, where the demand for the England kit has far superseded that for any other shirt: including that of the always-popular India.

The England kit, a retro design inspired from the colours of 1992 from when the team last managed a World Cup campaign to be proud of (making the final) has added a nice touch to a nation-wide rallying call around the hosts. The political unrest in the country may propagate prejudice and xenophobia and the immigration office may have to confront a Brexit-induced moral dilemma. But out in Cardiff, supporters of England proudly clap replays of Adil Rashid's "Ball of 2018" that ripped viciously past Kohli's attempted defence to knock the stumps, leaving the Indian captain in a temporary daze. The popular Revolution Pub in Cardiff breaks into a rather sudden "He is one of our own," chants.

It would seem that sometimes, in fact more often than we would care to admit, sport can make things fall into place without design.

What follows hereon is therefore fascinating. For once, England, led by the Irish-born Eoin Morgan, will enter the tournament as favourites. This has of course brought its own positivity to the region. The format will ensure they run into other top contenders and favourite rivals, India and Australia, at least once which should further pique national interest. If everything goes to plan and form, they will complete full circle in London, at Lord's on July 14, by when things should hit fever pitch.

The World Cup may have been compromised by administrative greed and general murkiness in its build up. But as the last train rolled out of Cardiff Central towards London Paddington on Tuesday night carrying journalists and some fans to London for the opening ceremony, there was a familiar sense of clarity and unity with the all the background hum beginning to fade away. Cricket, it would seem, will bridge all divides, provide an occasion for celebration in the United Kingdom. At which point, the world beyond will also come rushing in.

Live Home Series
Player Schedule
Points Table Cricket Rankings
Cricket Clothing Cricket Equipment
Cricinfo Apps Download