AHMEDABAD: In the face of an overwhelmingly partisan Indian crowd, Australia captain Pat Cummins has rallied his troops to embrace the hostile environment and use it to their advantage in Sunday’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final.
The five-time World Cup champions, seeking to add another gem to their trophy cabinet, will face India on home soil in front of a record-breaking 130,000 spectators at Narendra Modi Stadium. Cummins is well aware that the vast majority of those fans will be cheering against his side.
Instead of being intimidated by the occasion, Cummins encourages his players to channel the energy of the crowd into their performance.
“The crowd is obviously going to be very one-sided,” Cummins acknowledged, “but in sport there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent.”
“You’ve just got to embrace every part of a final,” he emphasized. “Even in the lead-up, there is going to be noise and more people and interest, but you just can’t get overwhelmed. You have got to be up for it, you have got to love it, and just know that whatever happens, it’s fine. You just want to finish the day with no regrets.”
Australia enters the final riding an eight-match winning streak, somewhat overshadowed by India’s remarkable 10-game unbeaten run in the tournament, including a commanding six-wicket victory over Cummins’ side in the group stage.
Despite India’s clear favoritism, Cummins believes his team is gaining momentum and is poised to peak at the right moment.
“One of the pleasing things for us is that I still don’t feel like we’ve played the complete game,” Cummins observed.
“Maybe against Netherlands, but outside of that, we probably haven’t. There have been no huge wins, and we’ve had to fight for every win. But we’ve found a way to win, and different players have stood up at different times. I think taking that confidence, knowing that we don’t have to be at our absolute best to challenge any team, we can find a way through it. All the boys draw a lot of confidence from that going into tomorrow.”
While Cummins admits he is not an expert at predicting pitch conditions in Ahmedabad, he anticipates a high-scoring affair based on the handful of large totals already posted at the venue during the tournament.