Lucknow: The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, sees huge potential for sports tourism between the two countries and hopes the ongoing cricket World Cup increases the knowledge of ‘new India’ in the UK.
Speaking to PTI ahead of the India-England contest here on Sunday, he said there is a need to build on the gains made in 2019 when the UK hosted the 50-over showpiece.
“When we hosted the World Cup in 2019, there was a huge increase in tourists coming from India. We hope this (2023 edition in India) would be an opportunity for British fans to come here and see the country. England will be back here next year (for Test series). Hopefully we can use that to try and increase the knowledge of new India in the UK,” said Ellis.
“India is a sports host of major tournaments. There is a huge potential (to grow sports tourism). That is why it is important to have an inclusive approach to make life easy for the fans so that people can have access to watching the games.”
Ellis, who ranks himself 14th on a scale of one to 10 of cricket fandom, is also thrilled about the game’s return to the Olympics.
Cricket, which has only been played once in the Summer Games back in 1900, will be played in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
“What I would want for cricket is that it expands around the world. It is such a great game. It is a game I would like to see more countries play. Hopefully, the Olympics can help with that.” he said.
Defending champions England have had a disastrous run in the World Cup so far but the fan in Ellis remains hopeful of a comeback.
“It has not been as good as they wanted it to be. India look very strong. England have tremendous potential. They have some great players but they have not played to their potential. They are holders of the both 50-over and T20 world trophies. They are just not in form,” he said.
Is England’s uber aggressive style of play responsible for their downfall? “Their style works really well. I don’t think it is about being too aggressive or not being aggressive enough. They just have not been in form,” said Ellis, who mainly watches Test cricket.
And his favourite cricketer?
“If I could bat like one person in the world, it would be Jos Buttler. Never seen someone who could time the ball that beautifully,” he added.
(Published 29 October 2023, 07:53 IST)