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Cometh the hour, Cometh skipper Pat Cummins

Last updated on 27 Mar 2022 | 07:22 AM
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Cometh the hour, Cometh skipper Pat Cummins

23 years and 128 days later, Australia returned to Pakistan and left with a win for the ages

Australia are home track bullies, Australia are afraid of playing away from home, that is why they didn’t travel to South Africa. Australia have a problem with their coach, Justin Langer. Australia are without a full-time head coach. Australia are put under the pump in Rawalpindi, will Pat Cummins really lead this side to a win? 

Enough questions asked, the Kangaroos really were under the pump, on and off the field. An elusive win in Asian conditions is something that they desired, especially considering that they play Sri Lanka and India, later this World Test Championship cycle. 

They needed every player to step up, every single soul to contribute, be it the eleven on the pitch or be it the eleven plus off the pitch.  

Not just that, they had to live up to the Australian ethos of playing the game, never ever give up. Over the next three weeks, Pat Cummins-led side not just restricted themselves to playing the game but resorted to a method of ruthlessness, that gave them an edge in the series.

If in Rawalpindi, it was the use of part-time bowlers and spinners on a placid day five track, in Karachi, it was almost a victory that slipped away from the hands of the visitors. But for the first time in many years, Australia were hanging tightly in. 

"In terms of tactics, I think overall I wouldn't change too much, to be honest," Cummins said at the post-match press conference after the draw in Karachi. 

The Australian media were up and running, they came hard down on Cummins, the skipper, on his strategies. There was a pressure up and beyond on the all-rounder to step up. So, Cometh Lahore, Cometh Pat Cummins, the Australian skipper. The 28-year-old perhaps could have easily played in the Kangaroos’ most dominant era. 

He doesn’t back away from a fight, he doesn’t dodge a bullet, he supports his team from all corner and even uses his resources goddamn wisely. His celebrations aren’t over the moon, as a skipper, he is perhaps the most likeable of Australian skippers, his strategy, tactics are all there for the constant upgrade. 

But this a territory where the visiting Australian sides have never found themselves in, a real chance of coming away from a sub-continent tour without a single loss. Without any collateral damage. No injury concerns, no harm to a players’ reputation.

However, there was one hurdle: Lahore. 


Cummins ended the series with most wickets, miles ahead of Nathan Lyon on the average barometer. But his influence on the series was mostly due to the decisions that he took, the backing he provided to his players.

In Lahore, they had to put the tools into work, they had to dig deep enough to fetch the diamond, the elusive win in Asia. It would be a watershed moment.

Can Mitchell Starc and Cummins evoke their reverse-swinging prowess and summon the demon against Pakistan? 

For most parts of the series, Cummin was at the right place, right time, won the crucial tosses where it mattered and made the right decisions, guess what, when it mattered. If Karachi aided reverse-swing, for most part of day one, there was hardly any. 

On the second day, when Naseem Shah ran riots, Cummins sensed a break into the Pakistan backdoor, he smelled victory. Cummins’ leadership was effective on multiple levels, he read the game to the minute, he read the health of his team, of his bowlers, of the piece of puzzle that would win them the series in Pakistan. 

While both Lyon and Starc are senior to Cummins, the newer generation, the Swepsons, the Greens were looking at him as an inspiration. For Australia, Cummins the bowler was just the second most important thing, the first was always him being the skipper. And for nine out of last ten Test days, he took the most impeccable of decisions.

Any skipper would have backed Lyon but Cummins had to not just back the off-spinner but had to employ him wisely where it really mattered. The 28-year-old was constantly involved in the game, be it starting with Mitchell Starc post the break, with the old ball or be it bringing on himself and targeting the fuller length against Mohammad Rizwan. 

Cummins isn’t an ordinary cricketer, he had already showed that his willpower was something levels above several cricketers. And in Pakistan, he showed that his brains, the ability to process the game to minute details, showed his class. Maybe, Cummins could even be the supreme leader. 


For both Australia and Pakistan, this series was of the highest quantifiable measure. The World Test Championship table is one of high risk. On a fine sunny day, you might find yourselves chilling with Piña colada in the merriest beach of the world. But on a day, it really matters, you might find yourselves scaling the Everest on a day of avalanche. 

Both the teams did not want the latter day. They wanted to settle things in Pakistan, even if it meant that they would go down and dirty. The series wasn’t literally dirty, there weren’t the dogfights, the verbal verbatim but it was a dogfight between two different strategies, between two different ideologies, between a captain who is a batter and a captain who bowls. 

What Cummins, the bowler did was already mind-boggling, especially in conditions that were torrid on most days but what Cummins, the skipper did is what landed the 1-0 win. Australia did not lose a Test in Asian conditions, chuck that, they never looked like they would lose one either in this series. 

The 28-year-old on from one end, Lyon on from the other. And when neither were effective, there was Starc. What was Pakistan really supposed to do, apart from bat well, of course. Australia hadn’t lost a single Test in the WTC cycle coming in Pakistan. 

And now, after what was 15 days of cricket on the most lifeless of tracks, they have extended that to eight Tests. Five wins, 72 points, a PCT of 75%, Australia are ahead of South Africa, who find themselves with a PCT of 60% and India, at 58.33%. 

“The boys absolutely love him. Very diligent, very thorough, strategic, very organized. He's a huge part of this tour win,” Cummins praised McDonald after the impressive win in Lahore. It finally shows the levels of trust.

Australia are clear favourites, perhaps, they were always clearly ahead of competition, after that England trashing at home but under interim coach Andrew McDonald, who has got a gleaming recommendation from the skipper, Australia are back to bossing teams on a Test level.

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