Apart from facing the best team of the tournament, i.e. India, in their prime form, Australia’s biggest challenge in the World Cup 2023 final would be to tackle the expected 1.3 lakh crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The world’s largest cricket stadium is expected to be full for the big final on Sunday and when it’s even close to full as it was during the group-stage match against Pakistan last month, it is one of the most daunting places to play cricket against India. 1 lakh 30 thousand people, mostly in blue, cheering every move of Virat Kohli or every step of Jasprit Bumrah is a nightmarish thought for any opposition and if it’s as big as the World Cup final then it gets doubly difficult.
Australia, however, are no stranger to such environments. They have played home matches against India where the blue shirts have outnumbered yellow. The stakes for Sunday’s match of course will be much higher and the number of people far greater than any other cricket stadium in the world, but Australia captain Pat Cummins said they are more than ready to take up the challenge.
“I think you’ve got to embrace it,” he said during a press conference on Saturday. Taking a cue from past Australian captains like Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, Cummins said his target would be to silence the packed crowd in Ahmedabad. “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. Yeah, you’ve just got to embrace every part of it, every part of a final even you know in the lead-up there’s going to be noise and more people and interest and you just can’t get overwhelmed. You got to be up for it, you got to love it and just know whatever happens it’s fine but you just want to finish the day with no regrets,” he added.
The World Cup final is expected to be a grand amalgamation of sport, culture entertainment. India’s Prime Minister and Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister are expected to grace the occasion. The BCCI has planned many events during every break of the match to entertain the large crowd.
India had the better of Australia the last time these two sides met in the tournament in Chennai. India bowled Australia out for 199 and then chased it down with six wickets in hand despite losing three wickets inside the first three overs. “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,” Cummins said about the previous encounter.
As far as Australia’s XI for the final is concerned, Cummins said all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green are being discussed and a final call will be taken by Saturday night.
“Potentially yeah, those are things (Stoinis and Green’s inclusion) we weigh up before every game. We’re lucky, we’ve got a 15-man squad who we feel anyone can step in and perform. They’re all ready to go. So, like every other game, we go through a process where coaches get together and chat through what they think or how they think the game’s going to go about and then the selectors obviously pick the final 11,” he said.