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Boland just keeps finding another level: Pat Cummins

Last updated on 11 Jun 2023 | 03:30 PM
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Boland just keeps finding another level: Pat Cummins

Cummins was all praises for the Victorian, who has been turning it on in red-ball cricket since his debut

The Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma, suggested a three match series as a decider for the world event. However, Pat Cummins agreed to disagree with him. He felt that element of randomness is what made sport so exciting.

"I think it's fine. No qualms. I think ideally you'd have a 50 match series but Olympics have come down to one race to win a gold medal. AFL, NRL seasons have finals. That's sport."

He also added that the WTC final was a culmination of the efforts put in over an extended period.

"Absolutely. I think that's one of the most satisfying bits. Obviously, the win here but to make it to the final you've got to win everywhere in the world. I think this cycle was 20 Test matches. I think we might have only lost three or four and out of the 20 the boys were fantastic the whole way through. We adapted well and that's what makes it so satisfying."

Talking about the WTC final, Boland has been an absolute revelation in the last 8 months. He's been consistently at the right lengths, takes wickets, and is also good at limiting run scoring. 

"I feel like we're starting to become too used to Scotty Boland just doing that. He just keeps finding another level doesn't he. He's unbelievable. He is just our best bowler all game. Held it together. Didn't go for many runs. Always looked threatening. To get two wickets in a row was just reward for how well he bowled throughout the whole game."

Given his current form, Scott Boland has made himself virtually undroppable. But, Cummins was quick to say that they're not too fixated on specific options. Based on the conditions on offer and their assessment of what's needed, they will choose the options available.

"I don't think I'd look too much into that. We did that last Ashes series as well. We chop and change the opening bowlers depending on gut feel. The ball moves a little bit differently to say a Kookaburra. It might swing a bit more after a few overs rather than the first couple. In terms of Scotty I'm sure he'll play a huge role in the Ashes but we'll see how it plays out."

At the toss, Cummins had indicated that he also wanted to bowl first, to exploit the pace friendly conditions. But, he felt that, in hindsight, this could've probably gone the other way as well. Although, he was confident that should that have happened, his bowlers would have brought in the A-game against this Indian batting lineup. 

"This one was a little bit trickier because there hasn't been a Test match played in June. The wickets have always been a bit - a couple of months further into the summer. I think the question you always ask yourself is, is it going to be easier to bat first innings or fourth innings? That's mainly the decision." 

"I think both teams thought there's probably more chance to get 10 wickets on that first day than fourth innings. How it played out would have changed it? Honestly don't know. That's the main question you keep asking yourself. There are overheads in your conditions. There's a bit in it at day one and you feel like you're going to take 10 wickets. You just go for it." 

"I think the stigma around bowling first and not bowling them out has gone a bit as opposed to in the past."

India began their chase of 444 strongly. But, Cummins backed his bowlers to get those 10 wickets. And given Boland's form, it's not hard to see why. Also, they were able to take wickets at regular intervals to chip away at the Indian lineup.

"I wouldn't say worried. We had four 30-odd on the ball declared. We felt like that was enough. I think the new ball period was always going to be the one you had to watch out for. The rock hard ball can ping around the field a little bit. I think taking constant wickets always felt like we were in control. We saw this morning and still felt like the wicket had a little bit in us for us quick bowlers."

The contrasting centuries from Head and Smith in the first innings worked in Australia's favour, as they posted an imposing 469. Talking about the art of defense, the Aussie said that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. 

"I think your goal as a batter is to try and score runs. Everyone goes about it slightly differently. I don't think there is a blanket rule on the correct way to go about it. For Smith to average 60 maybe he needs to strike at 50. For Head to average 50 or 60 like he has in the last couple of years, maybe his strike rate is 80." 

"There is no right or wrong. Everyone has their own method and you have to back that. There is no doubt if the batter is in control of his game and in command of what he is trying to do, whether he is defending or scoring runs, he is asking tough questions to the bowler and the captain."

While almost every in the XI made positive contributions, Mitchell Starc was the only player unable to do so. He went in excess of five an over in the 27 odd overs he bowled in the Test. With Australia set to face "Bazball" in the upcoming Ashes, Cummins rubbished any lack of form with the left-armer. 

In fact, he felt that, contrary to popular notion, he bowled pretty well in the second innings. He is a wicket-taking option, and Cummins is willing to pay the cost at which they come. Add the fact that he comes up with useful contributions down the order, and Starc will be playing an important role in the English summer.

"I thought Starky bowled well, particularly today. He did a role for us that we know Starky can do after 80 test matches. I think I was probably the biggest culprit at times being a little bit sloppy, not quite as slick as we normally are but I thought today everyone brought it together and everyone is in a really good place." 

"Again, his runs, we were talking about Mitchell Starc, the bowler, but he always contributes with the bat as well. He has got a huge tour ahead of him, played a huge role for us. English side sets up slightly different as well. There are a few more left handers. The wicket is going to be a bit different. Really happy with where Starky is."

A lot of chatter at the end of Day 4 was around Cameron Green's inconclusively clean catch. It did look close in real time, but the decision was ruled in favor of the fielding team, creating a huge uproar online. 

While Rohit wasn't particularly upset with the decision itself, Cummins felt that it was a fair catch. And he added that irrespective of what he felt, he would back the third umpire to make the correct decision.

"I thought it was a fair catch. Green was an absolute screamer and obviously we're just players, we're out on the field so we leave it in the umpire's hands and personally, probably the best umpire in the world, he knows the rule books, he's seen every angle. I'd probably back his decision more so than emotional, passionate fans that are looking on a big screen from 100 meters away."

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