Pat Cummins has won the World Test Championship (WTC) title, multiple Ashes series and the T20 World Cup in a stellar career. But the Australian captain said winning the ODI World Cup is the pinnacle of his international career. The 30-year-old was also part of the Australian squad that won the 2015 ODI World Cup at home.
“This is the pinnacle of international cricket. Winning the one-day World Cup is huge. It’s been a huge year. These are the moments you remember for the rest of your lives,” Cummins told reporters with the World Cup trophy in tow on Sunday night as Australia beat India by six wickets.
Asked to elaborate on why it is so, he added: “Every international team comes in (for the event). You only get a chance once in four years. Even if you have a 10-year career, you may play a World Cup only twice. The whole cricketing world stops for this event. The WTC title was huge, but this is it. The rich history… to come to a place like India, where the conditions are different, it’s pretty gruelling to play 11 games. But the way the group stuck together, this is the pinnacle.”
While Cummins produced a solid performance by claiming the wickets of Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer on a pitch where “there was basically no bounce”, Travis Head was the man of the moment. The Aussie left-hander came to the party with a 120-ball 137 that will go down among the great centuries in World Cup finals. With Marnus Labuschagne for company, Head steered the Aussies to the verge of victory from a challenging 47/3. That Head didn’t play the opening five games of the campaign due to a hand fracture, which he suffered during an ODI series in South Africa before the World Cup, wasn’t lost on Cummins. He credited Australia coach Andrew McDonald and chief selector George Bailey for taking the decision to include Head in their 15-member squad regardless, adding that he thought Head’s World Cup ambition was over when he suffered the injury.
“Head was phenomenal. A lot of credit should go to McDonald and Bailey for taking a punt. That was a big risk. We could have been made to look really silly. He epitomises everything I want from a cricket team. He takes the game on, plays with a smile and is fun to be around,” Cummins said.
Cummins also backed the one-day format, often said to be in danger given it’s sandwiched between Tests and T20s.
“I did fall in love with ODIs again in this World Cup. The scenario of every game matters. The World Cup has got such a rich history. I am sure it is going to be around for a long time. There is definitely place for it,” he said.
In the post-match presentation, Cummins also heaped praise on Australia’s fielding. Head took a stunning catch of Rohit Sharma on Sunday while they were collectively on the money in the semi-final against South Africa too. “It showed our desperation for sure. It all started against South Africa. The boys were fantastic. We have got an ageing side, but everyone throws themselves around.”