Why David Beckham made shock appearance at India vs New Zealand World Cup semi-final
Becks was pictured alongside India cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
A raucous crowd packed into the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, with the overwhelming majority of fans hoping to see Rohit Sharma’s side avenge their semi-final defeat against New Zealand four years ago.
The Manchester United legend is not known to be a cricket aficionado but was keen to sample the atmosphere while he is visiting India.
Beckham is on a three-day trip as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. UNICEF and the International Cricket Council (ICC) had joined forcess to promote gender inclusion and women’s empowerment through cricket.
Beckham posed for several photos with the stars of the home team, including Virat Kohli, and also posed for an iconic photo with India cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
The build-up to the match was largely overshadowed by a row over the pitch. The game was ultimately played on a used surface after a change by local officials.
Pitches are selected and prepared by the local groundstaff and authority with oversight from the International Cricket Council’s pitch consultant, but a used surface was always likely to heavily favour the home side.
Speaking ahead of the toss, India skipper Rohit Sharma, who chose to bat said: ‘It looks like a good pitch, on the slower side as well but whatever we do, we know we’ve got to do that well.
‘It was way back in 2019 that we played that semi-final, New Zealand have been one of the most consistent team over the years and it’s going to be a good contest.
‘It’s a very important day. I’ve been constantly talking about how important it is to turn up on the day and forget what has happened in the past.
‘We have to control the controllables.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.