PM congratulates England squad
England's victorious ICC World Twenty20 squad met Prime Minister David Cameron at a reception in Downing Street today.
The squad, led by captain Paul Collingwood, showed off their trophy in the garden of Number 10.
The Conservative leader praised the players on their success, saying they had made the country “incredibly proud”.
Player of the tournament Kevin Pietersen, team director Andy Flower and spin bowler Graeme Swann were among the players who mingled with Mr Cameron and other senior politicians including Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Westminster sunshine.
After the reception, the team posed for photographs alongside the Prime Minister on the steps of Number 10.
Addressing the victorious cricketers in the Downing Street garden, Mr Cameron said: “It really was a fantastic result, and you made the whole country incredibly proud.”
Hailing the performances of several players including Collingwood and Pietersen, the Prime Minister added: “Thank you very much for what you did.”
Looking ahead to a season which will include the Ashes in Australia this winter, Mr Cameron joked: “I’m frantically thinking of all the reasons for a very large UK-Australia summit around Christmas time.
“Beating another team is one thing, beating the Australians is something else.”
Collingwood said the reception was an opportunity for the team to reflect on its success.
“It’s brilliant for the squad because when you win something like that, and you go away and play well, you get very close as a team.
“But then when you land you don’t really get the time to say goodbye to each other, so having a function like this in such a prestigious place is great for the boys to get back together so soon,” he said.
“It’s something you never forget.”
England’s Test team were invited to Downing Street after winning the Ashes in 2005, with several players turning up a little the worse for wear after an all-night celebration.
But Flower hailed his squad for being on their best behaviour today: “To be part of the first (England) team to win a global tournament is a pretty special achievement.
“It has been a nice homecoming, we’ve been given a really warm welcome. It’s nice that we are able to celebrate it in a suitably dignified manner and this is part of it - it’s really nice for the team to get down here.”
Pietersen, who briefly flew home during the tournament to see wife Jessica give birth to the couple’s first son Dylan, said he had been “sleep deprived” since returning from the Caribbean.
“I’ve had no time to think about anything,” he said. “I’ve been changing nappies and trying to sleep when the baby sleeps. I’ve been brought down to earth.
“But being here is a privilege, and a reward for some really hard graft. The boys deserve it.”
Swann said: “It’s great to be here. I know you shouldn’t get carried away when you win things but I’m one of those who believes you should live in the moment, and we’ve been enjoying the congratulations.”