Australian Test captain Pat Cummins recalls a strange juxtaposition of feelings when he took over the top job – but those around him will tell you he’s passed his first 12 months as Australian Test captain with flying colours.
“It was a weird time,” Cummins told Wide World of Sports of his appointment.
“We’d just won the T20 World Cup so everyone was on a high – we flew back to Brisbane, we had to quarantine for two weeks and everything kind of happened in those two weeks.”
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It was a whirlwind few weeks for Cummins, whose wife Becky gave birth to their son, Albie, just days before the fast bowler had to fly out to Dubai, where Australia claimed glory.
“Emotions were flying all around my head – also we had one of the biggest series you play as a cricketer, the Ashes series, just a couple of weeks away,” Cummins said.
In the second series of Amazon’s The Test, which picks up with the resignation of Tim Paine and the appointment of Cummins as captain, the fast bowler said his new role wouldn’t sink in until he ticked off several things – including his first DRS referral.
It took until the 35th over of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba for that to happen.
Jos Buttler looked to flick a ball from Mitchell Starc off his hip, Alex Carey threw the ball up in celebration and it was sent upstairs – but the replays upheld the original decision.
“It’s funny, so many of those moments, we forget – we play all the time – so even 12 months ago, I forget what happens in a game. So watching back I feel like a viewer watching for the first time, even though we’re the main characters,” Cummins said.
“That first series, there’s so many of those moments; going out for the toss, DRS, so many things that I’d never done before as a captain and I was kind of like getting my head around ‘oh shit, that’s actually my job’ – a lot of naivety.”
“It would have been his fault,” he joked, pointing at Starc sitting next to him.
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Cummins has plenty of good qualities, but his humility is right at the top of the list.
Despite suffering just one defeat in his 13 Tests in charge and taking 50 wickets across those matches, he continues to downplay his own influence.
“There’s always things to work on, for sure. But I keep saying my job’s been made really easy by the players and staff we have. Really experienced, everyone’s just absolute pros at what they do,” he said.
“So I’m just there to kind of make sure everything’s going in the right direction and we’re staying on track but really, I don’t have to step in at all.
“It might not be like that forever but at the moment it’s just sitting back and taking all the credit.”
But you don’t have to go far to find someone who’ll give the skipper a rave review.
“It’s bloody great having a bowling captain, that’s all I say,” Starc said.
“He’s been fantastic – along with Ronny [coach Andrew McDonald] they just bring that calmness to the group.
“The way that he’s taken on board – whether it be outside noise – the whole role as captain inside the group as well, I think he’s been fantastic and the group’s responded really well to him and Ronny as well.”
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