Ben Stokes magic conjures higher hopes of England success | Vic Marks

The win over South Africa could not have gone much better for England – and that catch galvanised an unexpected amount of interest in the Cricket World Cup

It was not only the England team who were grateful to Ben Stokes in the victory over South Africa. So was everyone in the offices of the England and Wales Cricket Board, which is eager to promote this “once in a generation opportunity”.

The board can – and has – contrived lots of well-meaning gimmickry in an effort to galvanise interest in the 2019 World Cup. But all of its efforts were utterly outstripped by the eight-second clip shown on Thursday’s Ten O’Clock News of Stokes taking that catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo on the deep midwicket boundary at the Oval. Even the usually laid-back Adil Rashid, who had bowled the ball, was moved to sprint 80 yards to embrace him.

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