‘Cool’: Captain Cummins dishes out perfect, one-word response to Pakistani’s shock ‘better team’ claim
Between a 10-wicket haul, the Johnny Mullagh Medal for player of the match and leading Australia to a thrilling 79-run win over a resilient Pakistan, Pat Cummins’ Boxing Day Test was among the premier performances of his already glittering career.
And he was in equally sensational form in his post-match press conference – and one moment in particular.
Earlier, Pakistan team director and former player Mohammad Hafeez had raised eyebrows by claiming his team, despite their defeat in a match they never truly looked likely to win, had played superior cricket to their Australian counterparts for the majority of the match.
“Pakistan team played better than the other team, in general,” Hafeez said.
“Our batting intent was better, our bowling was hitting in the right areas. Yes, we made some mistakes that we lost the game [because of], but as a team, I believe that there were a lot of positives within the team to win the game; but unfortunately, at the end, we didn’t win the game.”
When told about Hafeez’s comments in his own presser, Cummins chuckled at suggestions they amounted to another ‘moral victory’ for an opposition, following a spate of contentious moments during the Ashes that had England supporters claiming similar, before responding with a single word.
“Uh, cool,” Cummins said.
“They played well, but glad we got the win.”
When pressed on whether he thought Hafeez’s comment had any merit, Cummins tactfully dodged the question, saying “It doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s the team who wins at the end.”
Cummins’ succinct response hearkened back to his similarly short but sweet answer in the wake of Jonny Bairstow’s controversial stumping during the Ashes, following Ben Stokes’ claim he wouldn’t have upheld the appeal if the shoe were on the other foot.
“I’m not disputing the fact that it is out because it is out. Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no… I’d have had a deep think about the whole spirit of the game and would I want to do something like that,” Stokes had said.
“Okay,” was Cummins’ reply when asked about the comments after Australia’s win, which, like at the MCG, put them 2-0 up in the series.
Cummins also disputed Hafeez’s claim that the presence of video technology is ‘putting a curse on this beautiful game’, in the wake of wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan’s fury at being given out caught behind late in the match after the ball was deemed to have come off his glove wristband.
“It’s not a perfect science, is it, DRS or umpiring or anything?” Cummins said.
“Some go your way, some don’t. There were a few umpire’s calls for both teams. I think it all evens itself out in the end. I thought this game was 50-50, so yeah, nothing that worried us too much.”
As for the dismissal itself? For Cummins, there was no controversy at all – Rizwan was out fair and square.
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“I heard something – I thought it was glove, it was there or thereabouts, so I thought it was worth a review, and then clearly off the glove strap,” he said.
Rizwan’s wicket was the 250th of his glittering career, while the innings also saw him move past the legendary Richie Benaud into the top ten leading wicket-takers in Australian Test history.
He needs eight wickets in the third Test at the SCG to move past former quick Jason Gillespie into outright ninth on the list, but still trails current teammates Nathan Lyon (third, 505) and Mitchell Starc (fifth, 342) on the list.