Ahmedabad, Nov 20 (IANS) Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine has heaped Pat Cummins with praise after captaining the team to their sixth Men’s ODI World Cup title, saying there wasn’t a thing the right-arm fast-bowler got wrong in winning the final over hosts India by six wickets.
At a packed Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday, Cummins won the toss and elected to bowl first, a decision which surprised many. But the pitch being slow and tough to make runs, with Cummins picking 2/40 and setting impressive fields, meant India were bowled out for 240, a total which Australia chased down in 43 overs, thanks to Travis Head’s superb 137.
“When we won the toss I think Pat Cummins shocked everyone a bit with the call to bowl first. They obviously had some terrific mail – and they all have a lot of IPL experience and have been there – the mail on that ground is that the dew comes in and it is extremely hard to bowl in the second innings, and I think we saw that.”
“The concern was, I think, that being an Indian pitch and potentially being a bit drier that it would spin and slow right up and it didn’t do that, if anything it actually got slightly better. I don’t think there was a thing last night that Pat Cummins got wrong. He was outstanding and he deserves a lot of credit for that. Andrew McDonald and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for that,” said Paine on SEN Radio.
He also elaborated on how Cummins got his decisions and strategies right from the word go. “Bowling first was the first call. Then when we were bowling, you could see the homework that went into it. The fields we had early to Rohit Sharma, that deep point, slip and Glenn Maxwell at like a fly slip.”
“Then to change that around as soon as they saw the wicket was a bit slower and the ball got older to Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, at times we went with four guys on the off side and no cover. I haven’t seen that in one-day cricket. The thinking to be able to come up with that plan to clog up the leg side to both of those guys, but then the bowlers executed it beautifully.”
“Then I think the way we got those early wickets, although they were scoring quickly, we knew if we could get early wickets we would expose their middle order who haven’t played a lot of cricket. When the Indian batsmen were trying to consolidate, Pat read that beautifully and brought Travis Head on and Mitch Marsh on to bank some overs when they weren’t really looking to take us on.”
Cummins and Australia have now won the World Test Championship, retained The Ashes and won the Men’s ODI World Cup in an unprecedented 2023. “I thought that was fantastic and allowed us a bit more freedom and imagination at the back end of the innings. I thought Pat Cummins had one of the great games as the captain and then when he bowled, that’s as good as I have seen him for a while.”
“He hasn’t had his best World Cup, but last night, and we’ve spoken about this a lot, Australia has players who stand up in the big moments because they’ve been there before and Cummins did that not just with his leadership, but with the ball.”
“When he went full speed, he was hitting the wicket hard and I thought he set the tone. His captaincy brilliant, his bowling was outstanding and we were brilliant in the field as well. The staff and the leadership around the group deserve so much credit for that,” concluded Paine.
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