India's captain Rohit Sharma and Australia's captain Pat Cummins pose with the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 trophy ahead of its final match between India and Australia, in Ahmedabad. (Image: PTI)
Ahmedabad: With an all-win record, India will start favourites in Sunday’s World Cup final but Australia captain Pat Cummins is keeping his cool ahead of the big game.
"It’s going to be awesome," he said of the title clash, adding "They’ve been playing really well this tournament but we know at our best we can give them a good shake. We’ve played them quite a lot over the last couple years with success so it’s all building up for a nice final."
The Australians have not been dominant, unlike in the past, but Cummins is not too concerned. "One of the pleasing things is I still don’t feel like we’ve played the complete game. We’ve had to fight for every win, but we’ve found a way. And different players have stood up at different times. So, we take 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, going into tomorrow," he said.
Speaking about the defeat to India in the league stage, Cummins said: "I don’t think we scored par in that first game but we were one catch away from potentially being in front of that game," he said in reference to Virat Kohli scoring a match-winning 85 (alongside K. L. Rahul, 95) after being dropped early on as India chased down 199 with six wickets in hand.
The atmosphere at Narendra Modi (world’s largest cricket) Stadium makes it literally a home game for India but the Aussies are up to the task. "We know it’s going to be a packed house… there’s going to be 130,000 fans here supporting India. The crowd’s obviously going to be very one-sided but in sport there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent and that’s the aim for us tomorrow," the 30-year-old said.
"You’ve just got to embrace every part of it, you know in the lead-up there’s going to be noise and more people and interest and you just can’t get overwhelmed. You’ve got to be up for it, love it and just know whatever happens it’s fine," Cummins added.
Also, having played in India frequently, moreso in the IPL, Cummins feels the Aussies will have a fair knowledge of the fans. "We play over here in India a lot so the noise is not something new — I think on this scale it’s probably bigger than we would have experienced before but it’s not something totally foreign to what we’ve had before," he said.
Cummins picked out Indian seamer Mohammed Shami as the one to watch for. "The one guy that didn’t play at the start of the tournament who’s done really well is obviously Mohammed Shami, so yeah, he’s going to be a big one but again that these are guys we’ve played a lot — so all our batters can draw in moments where they’ve taken on these bowlers and done well," he said.
"They’ve got five guys that bowl 10 overs pretty much every match. I think their spinners have done well through the middle overs, Kuldeep and Jadeja, so they’re going to be a tough proposition like they always are," he added.
However, Cummins got a bit jittery about the pitch, examining it from close and clicking a few photos of it as well on Saturday. Asked about it at the pre-match press conference, he said: "I’m not a great pitch reader, but it looked pretty firm. They’ve only just watered it, so yeah, give it another 24 hours, but it looks like a pretty good wicket."