INDIA 2023

By K.R. Nayar
From Narendra Modi Stadium

Ahmedabad.  Pat, how does it feel like to reach the final without a dominant show, unlike in the past? How does it feel to take on a dominant India? Does the tag of eight time finalists and five time winners play a role? This was my query to Australian skipper Pat Cummins. His reply was as candid as it can be coming from a skipper.

Pat Cummins 

Cummins, who has played the rescue act for his team in the last two matches by batting down the order, said: “I think it’s about experience, and fortunately some of the experience is playing in World Cups where we’ve been dominant and won before. I think one of the pleasing things is I still don’t feel like we’ve played the complete game. Maybe against the Netherlands, but outside of that, we probably haven’t. There have been no huge wins. We’ve had to fight for every win, but we’ve found a way to win. And different players have stood up at different times.”

Elaborating on the tag of five title triumphs, he said: “So, I think taking that confidence, knowing that we don’t have to be at our absolute best to challenge any team, we can find a way through it. Yeah, I’m sure we’ll draw a lot of confidence (from the past), all the boys draw a lot of confidence from that going into tomorrow.”

When asked whether his team has faced such a dominant Indian team before especially after having played them a lot in recent years, Cummins said: “They’ve certainly played really well this World Cup. I think we certainly didn’t – I don’t think we scored par in that first game but we’re one catch away from potentially being in front of that game. We won an ODI series here early on in the year. There’s lots of moments we can draw on where we’ve had success against, you know, a really good Indian side.”

With a smile, Cummins responded to a query on whether he was expecting a revenge match having beaten India in 2003 final. “None of the players from both sides were there in 2003′ so it feels like a long time ago. But we know it’s going to be a packed house. There’s going to be 130,000 fans here supporting India. So, it’s going to be awesome. They’ve been playing really well, undefeated this tournament. But we know at our best we can give them a good shake. We’ve played them quite a lot over the last couple years with success.. so it’s all building up for a nice final.”

The Aussies skipper admitted that this final will be the first time they will be playing in front of so many one-sided 100,000 fans. “I think you’ve got to embrace it. The crowd’s obviously going to be very one-sided, but it’s also in sport there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent; and that’s the aim for us tomorrow. You’ve just got to embrace every part of it, every part of a final. We know there’s going to be noise in the lead-up,and more people and interest; and you just can’t get overwhelmed. You got to be up for it, you gotta love it and just know whatever happens it’s fine.And you just want to finish the day with no regrets.”

Cummins named Mohammed Shami as the best among the Indian bowlers, but was confident in stating that his  team can handle him. “Mohammed Shami… he’s a class bowler to right and left armers, so yeah, he’s going to be a big one; but again these are guys we’ve played a lot – so all our batters can draw in moments where they’ve taken on these bowlers and done well.”

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