World Cup stars reject nagging question ahead of Test summer


Pat Cummins says the Cricket World Cup brought the best out of his captaincy and insist he gets better with every game as Australia’s one-day international skipper.

Cummins’ stunning performance as the architect of Australia’s sixth World Cup crown brought to an end any lingering uncertainty about his suitability for the top job.

The 30-year-old surprised onlookers with his call to bowl first in November’s final against India after winning the toss in Ahmedabad.

But with the wicket playing slow in the first innings before the dew fell to quicken the pace in the second, it became clear the captain had pulled off a masterstroke.

“Still on a high, still waking up every morning buzzing. It’s a career highlight for sure,” Cummins said on Tuesday, reflecting on that final victory over the tournament hosts.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“I definitely get better with captaincy every game, absolutely.

“You learn so much in your wins, and even more so in your losses. No doubt I’m getting better.”

Bowler Mitchell Starc had his own words of praise for his triumphant captain.

“He’s been phenomenal – the last few months have spoken to that,” Starc said.

“He certainly had his critics. There’s an opinion that (the captaincy) has to be done a certain way (but) Pat’s never been fazed by that or outside noise.

“A lot of (Australia’s success) has to do with the way Pat captained through the World Cup, particularly that last game.

“Things were done differently and bravely, and we’re standing here with the trophy.”

Cummins and Starc have no plans to rest for the upcoming Test series against Pakistan despite a busy 2023 in which Australia embarked on a tour of India, the World Test Championship final, an away Ashes series and the 50-over World Cup.

Mitchell Starc and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Trophy during a ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Trophy Media Opportunity at SCG, on November 28, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

“The words ‘rested’ and ‘rotated’ get thrown around a lot, but you never miss Test cricket fully fit,” Cummins said.

“Whilst the last couple of years we might’ve been rested from the odd game, the bulk of work we’ve been able to do is because of those smaller gaps.

“We’re fully fit. We won’t be rested.

Retiring batting great David Warner is expected to be selected for the three-Test series that begins in December, with his farewell game in the format likely to be a hometown Sydney farewell in early January.

“He’s a great of our game in all formats,” Cummins said of Warner.

“First and foremost, you always think of the performance side of things when you’re picking a side.

“He was brilliant this World Cup. He’d go on and take the game on, be brave and really put it back on the opposition.

“He’s hitting the ball beautifully at the moment.”

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