Pat Cummins and Australia had an extremely successful year that could rank among the finest of this century for any Australian team. It started out as a difficult year for both of them. It began in India with a respectable Test series loss and concluded there with an incredible World Cup victory. They won the Ashes in England and, not insignificantly, became the world champions in Test cricket along the way.
Though the odds were stacked against them in the World Cup final against hosts and bitter rivals India, Cummins was certain that a sixth World Cup victory constituted the “pinnacle” of their accomplishments.
“Winning a one-day World Cup is incredible, I believe it’s the peak of international cricket,” Cummins said, about an hour after Glenn Maxwell scored the game-winning runs to complete an overwhelming six-wicket victory in Ahmedabad.
“Especially in front of a throng like this one over here in India. That’s quite significant. Yes, it has been a significant year for all of us, but our cricket team has had incredible success this year thanks to their trips to India for the Ashes, the World Test Championship, and this. You will always cherish these memories for the rest of your life.
It’s a chance that comes only once every four years. You may only get two chances at it, even in a ten-year career. Indeed, this World Cup brings the cricket world to a complete halt. In other words, nothing improves.”
Before the game, Cummins talked about how his team would quiet a large crowd, and they succeeded in doing so all day. First, the bowlers stopped India’s barrage of powerplay boundaries, and in the final 40 overs of the innings, they held them to a record-low four. And when they batted, Travis Head struck three times as many boundaries as the whole Indian batting order, putting an end to the clamour of over ninety thousand people, the great majority of whom were Indian supporters.
By his own admission, Cummins was anxious as he awaited the commencement of the game, driving through the wave of blue while his players arrived at the field. However, he showed no fear when the game started, both when it came to choosing to bowl first against the most formidable batting lineup in the tournament and when it came to handling the ball.
“It just felt like it was one of those days where it was all made for him to score another hundred like he normally does, so yeah, that was satisfying”
Pat Cummins after taking out Virat Kohli
He has played a disinterested tournament with the ball, saving his best play for the crucial moments. When he removed Virat Kohli in the 29th over, he created the one moment that more than most stunned the audience into quiet.
“Yeah, we did take a second in the huddle just to acknowledge the silence that was going around the crowd,” he continued. “It just felt like it was one of those days where it was all made for him to score another hundred like he normally does, so yeah, that was satisfying.”
As captain, he did a superb job of preventing India from becoming comfortable by rotating his bowlers, frequently following one-over periods. He had changed bowlers 14 times by the half of India’s innings, which was tied for most by any side in this World Cup. Keeping Head in the team despite his fractured hand preventing him from playing in their first five games and sticking with Marnus Labuschagne in the starting XI would feel like the most vindicated leadership choices. Head and Labuschagne combined for a 192 partnership, with Head hitting the game-winning 137 and the undefeated 58 in the final. Despite worries about how it would affect Australia’s middle-of-the-field scoring pace, Labuschagne continued to play throughout the competition.
“We wanted to be pretty brave this World Cup, we didn’t want to kind of limp into the semi-finals, we wanted to be the team that could score 400 and you saw that the way we kind of shaped up with Trav, [David] Warner and then having [Mitchell] Marshy at No. 3,” Cummins stated. “We would rather lose that way because we wanted to be really aggressive and since a handful of our all-rounders are aggressive to end the innings. Marnus, on the other hand, just displayed his class and was unstoppable in South Africa. His style of play was undoubtedly different from his first ODI start, but he was still outstanding. You had to attempt to make place for him since it was paying off and we all know how good he is.
“And so we believed that Trav Head’s World Cup was finished. I didn’t be approached by Ronnie [coach Andrew McDonald] until the night after the injury. He’s saying, ‘I haven’t slept at all, we’re going to take the chance and keep him. He might be correct about the Netherlands, but if we want to win the World Cup and get to the finals, I believe he should be there.”
Since the World Cup started in November 2020, Cummins had only participated in eight ODIs and just two since November 2022. However, he called for more meaningful games, saying that the World Cup had allowed him to rediscover the format’s joys. Though no firm decision is anticipated, the future of ODIs is probably going to be reviewed at this week’s ICC Board meetings in Ahmedabad.
“Maybe because we won, but I did fall in love with ODI [cricket] again this World Cup,” he stated. “Every game matters in this scenario, in my opinion, and it does signify something different than a simple bilateral. So, yes, I’m not sure. Given its lengthy history, I have no doubt that the World Cup will last for a very long time. In the past few months, there have been an abundance of amazing games and tales. So, I believe that a location exists.”