Daily FT

Cummins and the ‘Sound of Silence’

On the day Australia were better than us - Dravid

AHMEDABAD: The popular song by Simon and Garfunkel ‘ The Sound of Silence’ was given a new twist by Australian captain Pat Cummins at the Cricket World Cup final when he actually silenced the more than one lakh of Indian supporters who had filled the Narendra Modi Stadium to witness an Indian victory on Sunday.

Prior to the final, Cummins had gone on record to state: “In sport, there’s nothing more satisfying than silencing the home crowd. That’s the aim for us tomorrow.”

Australia simply did just that, restricting India to 13 fours and three sixes in their entire innings as compared to the match- winning knock of 137 by Travis Head which comprised 15 fours and four sixes.

No doubt the crowd was silenced and even if they had a brief opportunity of raising their voices when Australia lost their first three wickets for 47 runs, it was again stifled by Head in partnership with Marnus Labuschagne that produced 192 runs for the fourth wicket which all but snuffed any chance India had of making a comeback.

As a matter of fact, Head and Labuschagne were initially not in Australia’s team plans in the initial stages.

“Travis Head was phenomenal. I think

I said it on stage, a lot of credit should also go to Andrew McDonald and George Bailey, the selectors, to take a punt,” said Cummins. “He had a broken finger, a broken hand for the half of the tournament, but to keep him in the squad was a huge risk. And the medical team were fantastic, obviously, to get him into a place where he could perform. That was a big risk. I think we could have been made to look really silly if that didn’t pay off, but you got to take those risks to win a tournament.”

“And Trav, the player we’ve seen in Test cricket, he just epitomised everything I want out of a cricket team. He takes the game on, he plays with a smile, he just puts the pressure right back onto the opposition and he’s just great fun to be around. I couldn’t be happier for Trav.”

And then Labuschagne who was initially not included in the Australian World Cup squad but was a last- minute inclusion. “Marnus just showed his class and in South Africa you had to pick him, he was fantastic and he was playing a different style to probably what he did for the first start of his ODI career and it was paying off and we know he’s a gun so you had to try and find room for him.”

It was a gamble that Australia took with these two players and it paid off handsomely in the final allowing them to win it for a record sixth time.

“That’s huge, I think that’s the pinnacle of international cricket, winning a oneday World Cup. Especially over here in India, in front of a crowd like this,” was how Cummins described the victory at the post-match media conference.

“It’s the pinnacle because just every international team comes together. You only get a shot at it every four years. Even if you have a ten-year career, you might only get two chances at it. It’s just the whole cricket world stops with this World Cup. It doesn’t get any better.”

“Just seeing the sea of blue, walking, making its way to the ground, all the cars parked with their selfie cameras out, you kind of knew you were walking into something pretty special. And then to walk out for the toss and just see 130,000 blue Indian shirts, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Awesome day and the good thing was they weren’t too noisy for most of it.”

“It’s been a big year for everyone, but our cricket team has been here in India, Ashes, World Test Championship and to top it off with this is just huge and these are the moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”

India’s Head Coach Rahul Dravid reflecting on his side’s defeat said, “I mean we were the favourites because we were playing well but I think you can recognise that Australia is also a very good cricket team. They also came here with eight wins on the bounce, so we were under no illusions that this was going to be a tough contest. We were confident that if we played well, we’d get the right result but unfortunately on the day they played better than us.”

“There is disappointment in the dressing room, and there is disappointment among the boys and among the support staff. There were a lot of emotions. It was tough to see as a coach because I know how hard these guys have worked, what they’ve put in, the sacrifices they’ve made. So, it’s tough.”

“But that’s sport. That happens. And the better team won on the day. I’m sure that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We’ll learn from it. We’ll reflect. And we’ll move on, as will everyone else. That’s what you do as sportsmen. You have some great highs in sport, and you have some lows in sport. And you keep moving on. You don’t stop. Because if you don’t put yourself on the line, you don’t put yourself in games like these, you don’t experience the great highs. And neither do you experience the great lows. And if you don’t do that, you don’t learn.”






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