Rishi Sunak plays garden cricket with England T20 World Cup winners

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed England’s T20 World Cup winners at a Downing Street reception on Wednesday, before taking part in an impromptu game of garden cricket with Jos Buttler’s men.

England won the tournament on November 13, defeating Pakistan in Melbourne, but have such a packed schedule that they have only now been able to take up the offer to visit Number 10.

Captain Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott led the delegation, joined by player of the tournament Sam Curran and fellow squad members Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes, Phil Salt, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills and standby seamer Richard Gleeson.

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler captained England to T20 World Cup glory (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Also in attendance were England’s director of men’s cricket Rob Key, ECB chair Richard Thompson and a contingent of youngsters from Surrey’s ACE programme – a charity charged with improving pathways for black cricketers.

The group were officially welcomed by former Prime Minister Theresa May in a state room before meeting Sunak, who had taken part in Prime Minister’s Questions just a couple of hours earlier.

He congratulated the group and engaged in informal conversations rather than delivering a set-piece speech before retiring to the garden where he took part in a gentle game in the grounds. Buttler also presented Sunak with a shirt signed by the whole England squad.

He then tried his hand at batting and bowling, before Buttler and his team-mates emerged after around an hour, posing for photographs with the World Cup trophy as they departed.

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy on a visit to Lord's in 2021.
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy on a visit to Lord’s in 2021 (Zac Goodwin/PA)

A statement from Sunak read: “As both Prime Minister and a lifelong cricket fan it was a pleasure to welcome members of the victorious World Cup-winning side and young cricketers from the ACE programme to Number 10.

“This is a hugely exciting time for English cricket, with success on the field across all formats and the Ashes taking place in England this summer. Cricket is a sport for everyone and I know that the success of the team will inspire kids from all backgrounds to get involved in the game.

“We’re backing that up with over GBP 600million for school sports and a new requirement for all schools to provide a minimum of two hours of PE a week.”