Alastair Cook’s overriding feeling when watching England’s Cricket World Cup final victory unfold was “disbelief”.
The 34-year-old, who retired from international cricket in September last year, could not watch all of the action as he was on County Championship duty, but he enjoyed the thrilling conclusion with his Essex team-mates.
Ben Stokes starred as England beat New Zealand on Sunday following a super over, and former Test captain Cook told PA: “It was amazing.
“I only watched the last hour-and-a-half really as we were playing for Essex, so to see that and share that excitement of England winning a World Cup amongst an Essex cricket team was fantastic.
“There was disbelief, disbelief at how a game of cricket after seven hours, eight hours can be a tie and still another tie, it was an incredible advert for the game of cricket.
“I was so happy for the England guys to win and obviously you feel a bit sorry for the New Zealand guys to lose by such fine margins. The way they handled that was spectacular.”
There was controversy when, in the last over, Stokes and Adil Rashid pushed for a second run when a throw from the boundary deflected off Stokes’ outstretched bat and away for four overthrows and six runs in total.
It has since been suggested that England should have only been awarded five runs, but Cook added: “I don’t make the rules and I don’t totally understand them, but it was a pure accident by Stokesy.
“He’s joked since that it was the only one he timed in the whole innings. It probably showed that we had the rub of the green, the luck of the Irish, it was just a fantastic way to finish.”
Former spin bowler Monty Panesar, who, along with Cook, was speaking at the premiere of cricket documentary The Edge charting the rise of the England Test team, hailed the strength of the current ODI squad.
He believes England will take the momentum into the Ashes later this summer, and said: “I didn’t play any white-ball cricket and when I played in 2007 we had a lot of weaknesses in our team, but this team just looks so strong.
“The two opening batsmen…if they produce a really strong partnership it allows all of the other batters to play with freedom, no fear, and that’s what I think Eoin Morgan has brought and it’s brilliant to see.
“All departments are really strong, I think England have set the benchmark in ODI cricket for all the other nations to follow. I don’t know if any nation can catch up with England at the moment.”
He added: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen England be so dominant against Australia.
“I’m really looking forward to the Ashes because I’m hoping they can continue that form in red-ball cricket and keep dominating Australia because we always like to see Australia lose on English soil!”