Pat Cummins has reportedly raised concerns about the pitch for Australia's World Cup final against India as pictures emerged of him sizing up and taking snaps of the wicket. The pitch selected for the final at Ahmedabad has been used in one previous match at the tournament - the clash between India and Pakistan during the group stage - a match India won comfortably.
India has received plenty of backlash over pitches at the World Cup with reports suggesting the Indian Cricket Board requested the pitch be prepared to produce a 'slower' wicket for the semi-final clash against New Zealand. It also came to light that the ICC had switched the wicket to be used for the game against the Kiwis from a new one that hadn't been used before in the tournament, to an old one that had already been used twice.
After checking out the pitch to be used for Sunday's final, The Age reports the Australian captain raised some concerns with the ground staff. One figure close to the team said the Aussies had concerns that the middle of the pitch was “rock hard” but appeared to be rough at both ends.
Cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan reported that the area of most concern was approximately five metres in front of the crease at both ends of the pitch. “The verdict was that these patches on both sides of the pitch had not been watered, or not to the same extent, anyway as the centre of the wicket,” Sunsaresan wrote for Cricbuzz.com. “Leaving the Aussie camp quite convinced that the spinners would come into play a lot more than they have on a number of pitches seen during the tournament, and from early in the piece too.”
Cummins said following the inspection he wasn’t surprised controversy hit the tournament earlier this week with the 'pitch switch' drama, stating the pitch looked 'pretty firm'. "I just had a look. I’m not a great pitch reader but it looked pretty firm," Cummins said in a press conference following his pitch inspection.
"They’ve only just watered it, so give it another 24 hours and have a look but it looks like a pretty good wicket. Yes (it has been used before), I think Pakistan played someone there. It’s been a bit more high-scoring here throughout the tournament. It’s been a pretty good wicket so it’s hard to say (how it compares). No doubt playing on your own wicket in your own country has some advantages," he said. "But we've played a lot of cricket over here. We'll wait and see."
World Cup final to determine whether 2023 is a success
Speaking ahead of the clash with India, Cummins says 2023 has shaped up to be a career-defining year for the Australian cricket team. From the first week of the year through to Sunday's decider against undefeated India, Australia have played 11 Test matches, three T20Is and 24 ODIs.
A white-ball World Cup, a Test series in India and an away Ashes series are considered three of the toughest assignments for an Aussie cricket team and all three have come within nine months of each other. Cummins says it has been a "huge year" especially when you throw a World Test Championship final in as well.
"They're four marquee events that if you have one of those in your off-season, it's a big off-season," the Cummins said. "Some of the guys have probably spent less than a couple of weeks in their own beds since the end of the Aussie summer."
Pat Cummins excited to fulfil a dream of a World Cup success
The Australian captain says World Cup glory is something he and his teammates have dreamed of since they were kids. "To put ourselves in a position for this, it would top off an incredible year and probably a career-defining year that a lot of us will look back on in years to come and be pretty proud of," Cummins said.
"(To win the final) would be huge. We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the '99, 2003, and 2007 World Cups. That's the opportunity ahead of us tomorrow, which is really exciting. To be captain would be an absolute privilege, to lift the trophy with this great bunch of blokes.
"In terms of the pinnacle (of world cricket), I think it is right up there. It's got the longest history of a world event where all the teams compete. You only get a shot at it every four years, so even if you have a long career you might only play in two of these events."
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