Three months ago, when asked if England could win the up-coming World Cup, Mark Robinson was a bit non-committal:
“You want to win it,” he said, clearly more in hope than expectation.
Now, his New England are World Champions!
And they did it the hard way.
England didn’t dominate the tournament – the Australia game was close… the South Africa semi-final was closer… the final against India was closer still.
With two overs to go, the sensible money was still on India, needing less than a run-a-ball with two wickets in hand. But that reckoned without Anya Shrubsole, holding her nerve for the second time in the knock-out stages: against South Africa, they needed runs – Anya Shrubsole got ’em; against India, they needed wickets – she got ’em! In the end, in a batsman’s tournament, it was a bowler who stood tall at the crucial moments and grabbed hold of the trophy with her Player of the Match performance.
It is truly remarkable – the way that Mark Robinson has, in just 18 months, coaxed England to a whole new level of fitness, of professionalism, of self-belief, of sheer will to win. That has been the difference between England and the other sides – they held their nerve through mini-collapses and dropped catches; they still believed the could do it; their heads didn’t drop, and this is their reward – their World Cup.
But they have Mark Robinson to thank for it.