Alan Border, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke—what commonality do these names share? Tell me, what connects them? The question seemed quite straightforward on the day of the World Cup final. Even though it might have been casually mentioned, he might have said, “Oh, who knows!” The names of five World Cup winners include four Australian captains.
Add the name of Pat Cummins to their side now. What does it mean to place Pat Cummins’ name there? Does it mean Australia won the World Cup? No, they didn’t. But if Australia were to win the World Cup, Pat Cummins’ name would be right there with those four. How would that look? Will the name of Pat Cummins be celebrated among those four?
In the names of Border-Steve Waugh-Ponting, the term ‘captain’ is visible. Even if Michael Clarke’s name is not quite like them, it is still associated with the captaincy. When we talk about Pat Cummins, does the term ‘captain’ come to mind? No. Because Pat Cummins is not the traditional Australian captain. The Australian captain should be a verbal aggressor, shoot words in the direction of the opponent, and start playing mind games before the match… well, Pat Cummins is not inclined towards these either.
Look at his face—like that of an actor. On top of that, a fast bowler. What else does it take to be a star? But Pat Cummins is unique in this too. In the world of cricket, when naming the biggest stars, his name is not mentioned. Not in T20 leagues either. Pat Cummins is quietly carving his path to immortality. Winning the World Cup trophy means immortality.
His captaincy was a big surprise. Fast bowlers are not good captains, are they? The farewell of team pain in the era of Dennis Lillee, the retirement of Aaron Finch—everything combined, there was almost no alternative but to make Cummins the captain. It’s also a bit of an anomaly in Australian cricket. There, everyone knows who the next captain will be as long as there is a captain. In the era of Mark Taylor, there was Steve Waugh, Steve Waugh had Ricky Ponting, Ponting had Clarke, and Clarke had Steve Smith.
The Sandpaper scandal was the first dent in that continuity. After that, the Australian captain Pat Cummins, whose crown had dreamed of on his head. Under his leadership, Australia won the World Test Championship. Even though they fell behind 2-0, they drew with Ashes. Now, in the final of the One Day World Cup, they have taken the team. What does it look like with Cummins? He will celebrate with those four in the final if Australia wins the World Cup?
What I said was, the term captain doesn’t come to mind when talking about him. Even though his name is missing in the batting-bowling excellence in this World Cup. Still, Pat Cummins’ name is there in the captain’s role, more than the captain of Australia in the final. Does that seem fair?
What he does is not his main job, but his batting is more. When Australia was at 91 for 7 wickets against Afghanistan, did you see Cummins? Not necessarily calm, how will he be? However, he did not let the pressure show on his face. Rather, in his clear commitment, it was understood how strong he would be in those circumstances. The contribution of Cummins when Afghanistan took 125 runs for the opposition was only 12 runs. But what if he didn’t stay for 68 balls, and Australia won that day?
Let’s not forget the match against South Africa. After scoring 125 runs against Sri Lanka, the openers went for more. In the 22nd over, when the attack turned back, Cummins brought back two openers. If we start to see Australia in the face of Australia in this World Cup, there is a specific moment to start saying that we are going back to where we started.
No, the World Cup will be celebrated by Pat Cummins. His name will be there with those four.