The deafening silence of over 90,000 supporters at the Narendra Modi Stadium, as Pat Cummins snuffed out the peerless Virat Kohli in the World Cup final, was perhaps the “sweetest moment” the Australian skipper has ever experienced on a cricket field. After becoming the fifth Australian captain to secure his country’s sixth ODI World Cup here on Sunday, Cummins admitted that he has “fallen in love with 50-over format all over again”. He got Kohli, who was well-set on 54, with a delivery that had an extra bounce and the premier India batter played on trying to jab it towards the covers.
“Yeah, I think so,” Cummins nodded in affirmative when asked if the silence was his sweetest experience on a cricket field.
In fact, going against their custom, the Aussies had a second huddle to just acknowledge how big the moment in the game it was.
“We did take a second in the huddle just to acknowledge the silence that was going around the crowd. 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 and that was satisfying,” Cummins said.
He believes that ODI World Cup is here to stay as it hs got its own legacy and also players have their stories to tell and perhaps, it is the bilateral series that become a problem.
“I must say, maybe because we won, I did fall in love with ODI again this World Cup. I think the scenario where every game really matters, it does mean a bit different to just a bilateral,” he acknowledged.
“I mean, the World Cup’s got such rich history, I’m sure it’s going to be around for a long time. Yeah, there’s so many wonderful games, so many wonderful stories within this last couple of months. So, I think there’s definitely a place.” He lost his mother in March, during a tour of India, which he had to curtail.
He returned, leading the country to the World Test Championship title, secured the coveted Ashes, and now clinched what he termed the “pinnacle of this sport”.
Australia’s ‘Captain Marvel’ has accomplished it all.
“Yeah, I mean at this moment just incredibly proud really of the year we’ve had. I have obviously had a really big year,” he said.
He spoke about the sacrifices made by everyone in the team and their families.
“I know my family at home is watching, just got a message from dad saying he’s had a lot of 4am wake ups, not going to bed until 4am, so he’s as pumped as anything. So yeah, you sacrifice a lot to play for Australia.” But this was also about going through all of that in search of this day.
“Everyone in the team has and we’ve spent a lot of this year away but we do it for these moments and my wife and two girls are probably asleep, but they’re all pumped, they do the journey with us.
“So, everyone’s got their own story, but there’s a lot of proud people out there in our team,” Cummins said.
From his hotel room, he saw Indian supporters, all clad in blue, walk towards the stadium. He felt a sense of nervous energy, pacing up and down in his hotel room.
“I always like to say I’m pretty relaxed but I was a little bit nervous this morning,” he admitted.
“Just pacing around, waiting for it to start, seeing the sea of blue in the hotel getting closer to the ground.
“Observing the sea of blue, cars parked with selfie cameras out, you knew you were walking into something pretty special,” Cummins described his experience before the game.
“And then to walk out for the toss and just see 130,000 blue Indian shirts, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Awesome day and the good thing was they weren’t too noisy for most of it,” he said.
The official attendance for the match was 92,543.
Head gamble pays off
Amid all the emotions, the skipper spoke about Travis Head, the man, who always messes with India, be it the WTC final or ODI World Cup final. The Indian team has no answer for him.
“Travis Head was phenomenal. A lot of credit should also go to Andrew McDonald and George Bailey, the selectors, to take a punt,” he was all praise for the backroom staff, who had their own conviction in why they needed the southpaw in the mix.
In fact, there was a chance that the decision could have boomeranged.
“He had a broken finger, a broken hand for the half of the tournament, but to keep him in the squad was a huge risk.
“And the medical team were fantastic, obviously, to get him into a place where he could perform. So that was a big risk.” “I think we could have been made to look really silly if that didn’t pay off, but you got to take those risks to win a tournament,” he added.
The skipper couldn’t be happier for a player who is ready to put everything on the line for the team.
“Trav, the player we’ve seen in Tests, epitomises everything I want in a cricket team. He takes the game on, plays with a smile, puts pressure back on the opposition, and is just great fun to be around. I couldn’t be happier for Trav,” the skipper wouldn’t stop gushing in his mate’s praise. PTI KHS KHS TAP
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