Bumble looks back on England's epic World Cup win in part one of his 2019 season review
The Sky Cricket pundit also reflects on Somerset's Royal London One-Day Cup victory and Ireland's memorable first Lord's Test
Last Updated: 27/09/19 10:45pm
After one of the most remarkable cricketing summers in many a year, David Lloyd looks back at the highlights. In part one, he reflects on England's incredible World Cup win as well as a memorable days at Lord's for Somerset and Ireland, too...
What a summer of cricket is has been!
All eyes were on the World Cup at the start of the season - and it did not disappoint! - but before that Somerset won the Royal London One-Day Cup. It was a great achievement for them but I can't help but think that it would be a better competition if it was a straight knockout.
The present format meanders along and I thought it was great fun to play in and coach when it was a knockout competition and included the minor counties. The reason it changed was the admirable idea that it gave players more exposure to 50-over cricket.
But if you look at other countries worldwide, they don't have a lot of 50-over cricket either and England players don't play much 50-over cricket domestically, but you know who the good players are.
In my opinion, the early stages in the league phase lack atmosphere whereas in a straight knockout, every game is a cup final and you have the holy grail of a Lord's final at the end.
From my time when it was the Gillette Cup or other tournaments that were played that way, when you were drawn against a minor counties team it used to frighten you to death! 'Where do they play? What sort of pitch is it? Who are they!?!'
It just loses a bit of direction in the current format and then you get to the final, Somerset played Hampshire and the ground was half full. I think it deserves better than that.
From next year, with The Hundred coming in, it will be mainly young players involved but I wouldn't see it as a secondary competition, because I think that does a disservice to academies and young cricketers who are striving to get recognition and into those first XIs. I see it as an opportunity for some young players to fast-track into the game.
England's remarkable World Cup triumph
On to the World Cup then! I was very disappointed not to be working on it, especially with it being in the UK. That said, I thought the competition itself got better as it went on. England went in as favourites and started really well but they had a wobble against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and after losing to Australia as well, they needed to beat India and New Zealand to qualify.
They did though and were very quickly back on track, thumping Australia in the semis!
I have to say at this point that I had a nice little bet on New Zealand before the tournament. I saw them at 10 or 11-1 and I thought 'whoever has laid those odds has got no idea!' The odds were wrong - they were always going to be very competitive in the UK and they pushed England all the way in a final that was just drama all the way through!
The controversy at the end after the ball deflected off Ben Stokes's bat over how many runs it should have been and who should have been batting at which end, I defy anybody to be able to conclusively come up with that decision at that moment.
Stokes was England's hero. From what has happened in the past, his personal life took a downturn and it took him time to get back into international cricket. But the way that he has gone about it, in particular with Jos Buttler, another star in that final, is just to work every minute to get better.
Every minute that he has he uses to try and get better at cricket and be a better person. I saw a wonderful interview with Ricky Ponting about when he got in trouble off the field early in his career and he vowed that after that he would become a better player and a better person.
That is exactly what Stokes has done. I know him very well and I'm absolutely thrilled for him and his family. England came through against a wonderful New Zealand team. They put England in a position in the final where they could not make a mistake, not one, and they needed a bit of luck. Both things applied and England got over the line!
Jofra Archer, having been drafted in not long before the start of the tournament, played a big part in that. He just gives England that pace and people must get tired of ex-players, commentators and pundits going on about pace, pace, pace! But pace disturbs the best of them and it always has done.
England are a wonderful team. I've watched them evolve under Eoin Morgan, they are a joy to watch and are now deserved world champions!
Ireland give England a scare at Lord's
There wasn't much time for England to celebrate though because they were straight into a four-day Test match - in sweltering heat! - against Ireland at Lord's.
It was a remarkable game, England were bundled out for 85 by Tim Murtagh in the first innings and they looked off the pace. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful game for Irish cricket.
I worked on it and it was great, I really enjoyed it. The performance that Ireland put in and the way that our lads had to dig very deep to get something from it. That turned out to be a win after Ireland were bowled out for 38 in the fourth innings thanks to a fabulous bowling effort from Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad.
I thought it was a terrific precursor to the Ashes, which came thick and fast after that!