Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

David Beckham makes surprise appearance at Cricket World Cup semi-final in India

Beckham has been working in India as a Unicef ambassador and was unable to attend Sir Bobby Charlton’s funeral this week

Lawrence Ostlere
Wednesday 15 November 2023 11:49 GMT
Related video: David Beckham fumes at Thierry Henry for eating all of his crisps

David Beckham was a surprise guest at the Cricket World Cup semi-final between hosts India and New Zealand in Mumbai.

Beckham walked on to the pitch before the match began with batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who introduced the Inter Miami owner to the Indian players, and they then took their seats to watch the showdown against the Black Caps.

The 48-year-old has spent several days in Gujurat, India’s western-most state just north of Mumbai, in his role as a Unicef ambassdor, and was invited to the game by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has partnered with Unicef in a project to empower women and girls through cricket.

“It’s a great privilege to see first-hand the work Unicef is doing on the ground to support children and their families,” Beckham posted on Instagram. “The energy and innovation I have seen here has been so inspiring and I loved hearing the children’s stories and their hopes and dreams for the future.”

David Beckham with Sachin Tendulkar before the coin toss (AP)
Beckham meets the New Zealand players (AP)

Beckham was unable to attend Sir Bobby Charlton’s funeral on Monday and sent apologies to Charlton’s family and Manchester United. Charlton was his father’s hero and Beckham had a close relationship with the United great.

Unicef’s India representative, Cynthia McCaffrey, said: “Unicef goodwill ambassador David Beckham’s visit to India spotlights the message on the importance of equal opportunities and rights for every child. His visit reinforces Unicef mission to support equal opportunities to empower all, especially girls.”

Beckham added: “I have always been a strong believer in the power of sport in levelling the playing field for children. Sports promotes participation, breaks down gender stereotypes and is a powerful way to help girls to realise their dreams.”

India are strong favourites to win the World Cup after obliterating the field in the Super 10s standings, winning every one of their nine matches, and they made a blistering start to the semi-final courtesy of captain Rohit Sharma’s explosive batting.

South Africa and Australia face off in the other semi-final on Thursday, before Sunday’s final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in