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World Cup final to get free-to-air coverage if England qualify
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

World Cup final to get free-to-air coverage if England qualify

The 2019 World Cup final will be shown to the masses across the United Kingdom on free-to-air television in the event that England reach the grand finale of the showpiece event.

This announcement was made by Sky Sports on Friday in a bid to attract as many viewers as possible if England qualify for the first time in a World Cup final since 1979.

England recently achieved successive wins over India and New Zealand to march into the semi-finals despite being rocked midway through the tournament with a couple of losses.

They will now take on either Australia or India on Thursday at Edgbaston while the final will take place at Lord's on July 14.

International cricket in Britain is accessible only to subscribers since 2005.

Many experts believe taking cricket off free-to-air television played a major role in the waning popularity of the sport in the country since younger age groups are increasingly uninterested in pursuing the game professionally.

This trend has exacerbated in recent times as witnessed by the larger number of viewers ardently following England's run in football's Women's World Cup rather than watching their cricket team put on an exuberant show in the ICC World Cup.

"We are proud to be the broadcaster for a home Cricket World Cup -- one of the world's biggest and most exciting sporting events," Sky UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen Van Rooyen said.

"Our aim has always been to celebrate what could be a 'once in a generation' moment of a home team in a big final on home soil.

"So, if England reach the final, we will make the match available to everyone so the whole country can be part of a rare and special big sporting moment."

'Want as many people to watch it as possible' - Plunkett

England pacer Liam Plunkett claimed in the aftermath of the thumping win over New Zealand that his team desired as many supporters tuning in to see the players battle it out in the field.

"You want as many people to watch it as possible," he told BBC Radio.

"Playing for England you're the pride of the country and you want people to be able to access that and watch that.

"It's always nice to be on a bigger platform. We feel like we've built something special here as a team.

"It would be nice to go all the way and to have big numbers watching that final if we get through and win, that would be huge."