World Cup: Unassuming Pat Cummins walks the talk | Cricket News – Times of India
Australia skipper steps up to play stellar role when it matters most
AHMEDABAD: On the eve of the World Cup final against India, Pat Cummins had said that his team wanted to “hear a big crowd go silent” at the gigantic Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday. It was a very-unlike Cummins statement. Normally not known as someone who would indulge in big talk, the Australian captain, for once, donned the garb of his fellow Aussie cricketer.
When the time arrived, Cummins actually carried out his ‘threat,’ when he delivered body blows to India’s formidable middle-order, bagging the key wickets of the in-form Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohlito leave the 1,30,000-strong crowd stunned into silence.Fellow pacersMitchell Starc took 3-55, Josh Hazlewood returned 2-60, but what derailed India’s innings on a slow, sluggish wicket was Cummins’ parsimonious haul of 10-0-34-2.
On a pitch which neither had swing or seam in the first half, it was a masterclass of pace bowling from the Australian captain. He choked India’s batsmen with the ‘heavy ball.’ While Iyer succumbed to a back-of-the-length delivery around the off-stump area, Kohli ended up dabbing another short delivery onto his stumps.
How much impact he had on India’s ‘slowdown’ can be judged by the fact that while they raced away to 80 for two in the first 10 overs, they never could manage five per over once Cummins introduced himself in the ninth over. A stat on ESPNCricinfo showed that in the death overs, Cummins has bowled 865 balls, in which he has taken 57 wickets, at an economy rate of 6.84.
Cummins was a six-year-old when Steve Waugh’s star-studded Australian team won the World Cup in 1999, and 10 when Ricky Ponting’s men added another title, beating India in the final in 2003. Cut to two decades later and on the eve of the final, explaining what it would mean to be a World Cup-winning captain, Cummins had said: “It would be huge. We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the ’99, 2003 and 2007 World Cups. To be captain would be an absolute privilege to lift the trophy with these great bunch of blokes.”
On match eve, Australian media reported that Cummins had concerns over a couple of rough patches on both ends of the wicket, even though he told the media that he was happy with it. When the moment came, he put all those thoughts behind, switched on like how!
Starting with taking the bold, calculated decision to bowl first on a dry wicket against a team with heavy batting artillery – that too in a final – Cummins got all things right on Sunday, including leading from the front.
For someone who hasn’t captained too much in the ODIs, Sunday proved his best day on the job, on top with his bowling changes and tactical with field placements, once even asking his teammates to calm down after a couple of excited overthrows.
It wasn’t a World Cup which started on the perfect note for the 30-year-old, who picked up just one wicket in his first two games. Yet, it has been a remarkable 2023 for Australia, pulling off a rare Test win in India on a difficult Indore pitch, beating India in the World Test Championship final at the Oval and retaining the Ashes. Sunday’s World Cup win was just the topping on the cake.