Star bowler Jofra Archer grieved privately over the death of his cousin in Barbados during England’s success at the Cricket World Cup, his father has said.
A murder investigation was launched after Ashantio Blackman, 24, was shot dead outside his home in St Philip the day after England’s World Cup campaign started with a 104-run win against South Africa in May.
Archer took 20 wickets in 11 innings during the World Cup and bowled the Super Over which guaranteed Eoin Morgan’s side beat New Zealand by the slenderest of margins at Lord’s on Sunday.
Frank Archer, 55, told the Times: “(His cousin) is the same age as Jofra and they were really close, he even messaged him in the days before he died.
“Jofra was really affected by his death but had to carry on.”
Bowler Archer was born in Barbados but qualified for a British passport thanks to his father, who told the paper: “People have been questioning his Britishness, but him playing for England has shown he will inspire everyone to play cricket, because it’s usually seen as an elitist sport.”
Meanwhile, Ben Stokes – whose 84 led to a player of the match award – wrote in the Daily Mirror the celebrations led to “the latest night I’ve had for a very, very long time”.
“After what I’ve been through, it does make these moments feel all the sweeter because you are going to have ups and downs, but it is how you cope with it that matters.
“It was great to eventually get hold of mum and dad back in New Zealand as well, they were over the moon.
“Redemption is a word that people have been using, but that is not something I’m thinking about. I certainly wasn’t thinking about it while I was trying to win the game,” Stokes said.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May met the squad which “represents modern Britain” at a Downing Street reception on Monday.
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.”