Sunday February 25, 2024

Cummins urges Australia to ‘embrace’ India crowd challenge

November 19, 2023
Australias captain Pat Cummins speaks during a press conference in Hobart on January 13, 2022, ahead of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match against England. —AFP/File
Australia's captain Pat Cummins speaks during a press conference in Hobart on January 13, 2022, ahead of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match against England. —AFP/File

AHMEDABAD: Australia captain Pat Cummins has urged his side to “embrace” the challenge of facing a hostile crowd when they play in-form hosts India in Sunday´s World Cup final in Ahmedabad.

A capacity crowd of around 130,000 is expected to roar on India.

The hosts are bidding for a third World Cup title and second on home soil after their 2011 triumph.

But five-time champions Australia are a team full of big-match performers who also know what it´s like to play in cricket-crazy India from their time in the Indian Premier League.

“I think you´ve got to embrace it, the crowd´s obviously going to be very one-sided,” Cummins told a pre-match news conference on Saturday.

“But also in sport, there´s nothing more satisfying (as an opposition player) than hearing a big crowd go silent and that´s the aim for us tomorrow.”

The 30-year-old fast bowler added: “You´ve just got to embrace every part of it, every part of a final -- 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,” Cummins said.

And while he accepted the dimensions of Sunday´s match would be different to any his side had experienced before, Cummins said: “We play over here in India a lot so the noise is not something new.

“I think on this scale it´s probably bigger than we would have experienced before but it´s not something totally foreign to what we´ve had before.

“Everyone deals with it slightly differently -- you see Davey (Warner) probably dancing and winning the crowd over, other guys just staying in their own bubble -- it should be good.”

India have been the form team of this World Cup, winning all 10 matches on their way to the final.

“It´s going to be awesome,” said Cummims. “They´ve been playing really well, undefeated this tournament. But we know at our best we can give them a good shake.”

Cummins also highlighted the impact of rival paceman Mohammed Shami had made upon a “well-rounded” India side.

Shami was left out of the team at the start of the World Cup but is now the tournament´s leading bowler, with 23 wickets from just six games at a stunningly low average of under 10 apiece -- a haul featuring his superb 7-57 against New Zealand in the semi-final.

“He´s a class bowler to right and left-armers,” said Cummins. “But all our batters can draw on moments where they´ve taken on these (India) bowlers and done well.”

Victory on Sunday would cap a remarkable 2023 for Australia that saw them narrowly lose a Test series in India before defeating India in a World Test Championship final in England, where they also went on to retain the Ashes after a drawn campaign.

“It´s been a huge year,” said Cummins. “These are four marquee events.

“Some of the guys probably spent less than a couple of weeks in their own bed since the end of the Aussie summer,” added Cummins, also the skipper of Australia´s Test team.

“The guys have been awesome. They´re so up for every game they play.

To put ourselves in this position, it (winning the World Cup) would just top off an incredible year.”