Theresa May has offered her thanks to England’s triumphant Cricket World Cup team which she said “represents modern Britain”.
The Prime Minister met the players in Downing Street and hailed their ability and character after their nail-biting victory over New Zealand on Sunday.
After the diverse team joked that they had not only the luck of the Irish but Allah on their side, May praised the encapsulation of modern Britain in the winning squad.
She addressed the team at a reception inside Number 10, saying: “The final was not just cricket at its best but sport at its best – courage, character, sportsmanship, drama, incredible skill and even the odd slice of luck.
“It was a fitting end to what has been a great tournament, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in once again making our country a sporting showcase for the world.
“You are a team that represents modern Britain, and that plays like no other side in the world.
“When the odds were against you in the biggest game of your lives, you simply and stubbornly refused to lose.
“It is that determination, that character, that has made you world champions. But more than that, you have made history.
“You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again. You have inspired countless future Morgans, Rashids and Archers.
“On behalf of the whole country, congratulations to – and I just want to say this one more time – England’s World Cup winners.”
Cheers and car horns greeted the squad on Whitehall as they arrived by bus for the meeting, and captain Eoin Morgan led his players along Downing Street to meet the PM.
May greeted them outside Number 10 and was shown the trophy – won for the first time by the men’s team – by Morgan.
The Prime Minster, a self-professed cricket fan who attended the final at Lord’s, shook hands with the squad, including star bowler Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes.
She then posed for photos with the team, wearing their official England shirts, and held aloft the World Cup trophy with the help of Morgan.
Adil Rashid at one point helped prop up the trophy, and urged the pair to lift it higher, before the team went inside Number 10.
The spinner had assured team-mates that Allah was on their side, according to Morgan.
The captain said previously: “We had Allah with us as well. I spoke to Adil, he said Allah was definitely with us. I said we had the rub of the green.
“It actually epitomises our team. It has quite diverse backgrounds and cultures… to actually find humour in the situation that we were in at the time was pretty cool.”
The players became world champions on a count-back of boundaries scored in the final after a super over ended in a tie.
Batsman Jonny Bairstow previously described the result as “ridiculous, genuinely ridiculous”, adding: “There’s never going to be a game like that ever in history ever again.”
Test captain Joe Root added: “What a day yesterday was. Probably the best game of all time.”
The Tory leadership hopefuls were asked during a debate if they would give Stokes a knighthood, and frontrunner Boris Johnson said: “I will give dukedoms, whatever – I will go to the maximum, to, what, the Garter King of Arms. Yes is the answer, absolutely.”
Jeremy Hunt said: “Of course.”
The 2005 Ashes-winning England team are remembered for their own reception at Number 10, in well-publicised scenes not replicated by the victorious World Cup squad.
Players including Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen hit the headlines for their indulgence the day after their historic victory.
Michael Vaughan’s squad looked the worse for wear when they arrived at Downing Street. Several wore sunglasses to protect tired eyes as they met Tony Blair, his wife Cherie and children Euan and Nicky.
Pietersen admitted it was all a blur, saying: “I don’t remember much of it, to be honest. I don’t even remember shaking the Prime Minister’s hand.”