Pat Cummins addresses T20 World Cup tanking rumours amid 'spirit of cricket' furore

The Australian captain ruled out the prospect of Australia attempting to knock England out by underperforming against Scotland.

Pat Cummins says there is no way Australia will deliberately underperform against Scotland in a bid to knock out rivals England from the T20 World Cup, declaring it would be against the "spirit of cricket". Australian cricket fans were licking their lips at the prospect of knocking out their bitter rivals by either letting Scotland win their final group-stage match or beating them by a slender margin.

And speculation that could unfold grew on Wednesday as Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said it would be in Australia's "best interests" to do what was needed to knock the Poms out. Australia have already secured their place in the next round, the Super Eights, after easily sweeping aside England, Oman and Namibia so far. And Hazlewood suggested the Aussies could take it easy in their final Group B game against Scotland this weekend and knock England out in the process.

Pat Cummins pictured left and right with Josh Hazlewood
Pat Cummins ruled out the option of Australia attempting to knock England out by underperforming against Scotland. Image: Getty

While that scenario got a whole lot tougher after England obliterated Oman in an eight-wicket win on Thursday to move above Scotland on net run rate, Australia could still lose their final match and send England packing. But Cummins says that is not something Australia would ever seriously consider and that Hazlewood's suggestion was said tongue in cheek.

"When you go out and play you’re trying your best every time. And if you’re not, it’s probably against the spirit of cricket,” Cummins told reporters in St Lucia. "I don’t think you can (go into a game not trying to win) — ever. You’re playing an international game in the middle of a World Cup.

“You still want to try and have a good game and carry that on into the Super Eights. I’ve never stepped onto the field without the mindset of being aggressive, like the guys have so far.”

"We’ll go out there and try to play Scotland, who have had a really good tournament so far, so it’s going to be tough,” he said. It’s something you discuss as one of the quirks of the set-up, but it does it change the way we play? Absolutely not."

ANTIGUA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - JUNE 11: Nathan Ellis of Australia celebrates with teammates Mitchell Marsh, Pat Cummins and Tim David after dismissing JJ Smit of Namibia (not pictured) during the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 match between Australia and Namibia at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on June 11, 2024 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Jan Kruger-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
Australia have been perfect at the T20 World Cup to date.

Hazlewood's comments went down like a lead balloon with England cricket fans as the spirit of cricket debate was reignited. England's Aussie head coach Matthew Mott said he hoped the Aussie fast bowler's comments were not serious. "I think I know Josh pretty well and I know his integrity. He's got a very good sense of humour," Mott said.

"I am hoping it was very much tongue in cheek. I actually don't think it is ever going to play out. Having grown up in Australia, and the will to win every game, I am sure they will come to the fore. I am very much hoping it was an offhand remark by a really good bloke who is having fun."


Despite England's drubbing of Oman somewhat taking away the option of Australia winning by a small margin to knock their Ashes rivals out, it hasn't stopped the cricket world being angered by the suggestion. England fans are understandably outraged at the prospect of Australia taking it easy on their neighbours while Aussie cricket fans continue to love every second of holding England's T20 World Cup fate in their hands.