Pat Cummins urges Australia to ’embrace’ World Cup final pressure against India

By Sports Desk November 18, 2023

Australia captain Pat Cummins is hoping to silence over 100,000 India fans as his side take on the all-conquering hosts in a tantalising World Cup final.

India have beaten all comers on home soil over the past seven weeks, cheered on by passionate local support in every city they have visited.

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the biggest cricket ground on the planet, will be teeming with blue shirts on Sunday and they will all be barracking for the same result.

When Pakistan played India at the same venue earlier in the competition, their team director Mickey Arthur pointed out that the lack of away fans meant “it didn’t seem like an ICC event, it seemed like a BCCI event” but Cummins insists Australia must not be daunted by the numbers game.

Instead, he wants them to savour the opportunity of ruining the partisan atmosphere.

“I think you’ve got to embrace it. 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,” he said.

“Every part of a final, even 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, you’ve got to love it and just know whatever happens it’s fine. You just want to finish the day with no regrets.

“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. Everyone deals with it slightly differently, you’ll see Davey [Warner] probably dancing and winning the crowd over and other guys just staying in their own bubble, but it should be good.”

While India’s host status and irresistible run of results – 10 straight wins including a straightforward six-wicket success over Australia at the start of the group stage on October 8 – makes them favourites, their opponents boast the better pedigree.

Australia are five-time winners of the biggest prize in the one-day game, thrashing India by 134 runs when they met in the 2003 final in Johannesburg, and Cummins is one of several survivors from the triumphant 2015 team.

“We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the 1999, 2003, 2007 World Cups and that’s the opportunity ahead of us tomorrow, which is really exciting,” he said.

“To be captain would be an absolute privilege to lift the trophy with these great bunch of blokes. It’d be awesome and in terms of the pinnacle, I think it is right up there. It’s got the longest history of a world event where all the teams compete and 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 – 2015 is still a career highlight for me, so I think tomorrow if we win, that might pip it.”

Australia have no injury concerns in their 15-man squad and could go in unchanged following their tight semi-final win over South Africa. All-rounder Marcus Stoinis could come into consideration as an extra bowling option, with Marnus Labuschagne the only specialist batter looking over his shoulder.

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