Captain Pat Cummins was hailed for two first-class appearances after Australia’s stunning World Cup triumph over India.
Cummins proved to be a “pure gentleman” and “true leader” and was considerate and considerate until the end while all hell broke loose around him.
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First, Cummins kept an incredibly cool head while his teammates were ready to erupt in scenes of pure ecstasy on the podium.
Admittedly, he had plenty of time to plan his actions and waited what felt like an eternity while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles congratulated all of his teammates before finally standing on stage alongside him.
Once that awkwardness was over, Cummins knelt to lift the trophy. He was careful not to block any of his teammates behind him, while also keeping the hard-earned trophy in full view.
But that was just one of his unheralded acts as the world celebrated his team’s stunning performance.
He was then caught on camera handing over the trophy to the Australian Indian handlers and taking a photo of their beaming faces.
“How can I hate this guy now?” said an Indian fan on social media.
And another said: “Come on Cummins, let me hate you.”
But most Indian fans were simply impressed by his selflessness.
“Great gesture from the great athlete Pat Cummins, pure gentleman…truly a champion,” wrote another on X (formerly Twitter).
“True leader. Congratulations Australia,” said another Indian fan.
“This is stunning. What a man!” another said.
“That’s really sweet and gentlemanly of him, he’s a great guy. Although today’s results broke me,” said another.
Meanwhile, after Australia ambushed the red-hot hosts and silenced the huge crowd, Cummins claimed ODI cricket was indeed alive and well.
Since the early 2000s, 50-over cricket has not been the game’s strongest format, and the growing popularity of franchise leagues has cemented Twenty-20’s place as a mass format in the years since.
The tradition of Test cricket has ensured its own longevity, leaving ODI cricket caught between the two formats and its popularity undoubtedly declining.
The constant resting of players outside of World Cups and the move behind a TV paywall in Australia have also damaged the format, which has long struggled for context.
Over the last three years, Australia has attracted an average of just 8,453 spectators to ODIs on home soil, compared to 12,385 for T20Is and 20,184 per day for Test cricket over that period.
During their home triangular series in the summer of 2003–04, the last before the introduction of the T20I, Australia attracted an average crowd of 31,685.
But there has been no shortage of interest in India’s showpiece 50-over format event over the last six weeks.
Afghanistan’s surprise sixth-place finish, England’s constant struggles to find form and the Netherlands’ surprise win over South Africa kept the bottom end of the table in sight.
Higher up, India’s unwavering dominance was a spectacle, as was Australia’s recovery from a 0-2 start to qualify for the final on an eight-match winning streak.
But the decision was a throwback to high-quality, exciting ODI cricket.
Australia became the first team to beat India throughout the tournament before Travis Head’s 137-run masterpiece clinched victory in front of 130,000 stunned fans in Ahmedabad.
Cummins believed the quadrennial tournament had the power to continue to keep the ODI format fresh amid concerns over its future.
“Maybe because we won, but I fell in love with ODI again in this World Cup,” Australia’s captain said.
“I think the scenario where every game really counts means something different than just a bilateral (series).
“The World Cup has such a rich history, I am sure it will last for a long time.
“Yes, there have been so many wonderful games, so many wonderful stories in the last few months. So I think there is definitely a place (for ODI cricket).”
Such was Cummins’ awe at the ODI triumph that he rated it Australia’s best performance of the year before retaining the Ashes in England and winning the World Test Championship.
“The World Test Championship was huge,” he said.
“But an ODI World Cup, I think, is a rich story and the fact of coming to a place like India where the conditions are very different to home.
“It’s pretty tiring, 11 games in five or six weeks, but the way the group stuck together and got the medal, that’s the highlight.”
– With AAP