Melbourne [Australia], December 30 (ANI): 2023 will be remembered as the year of skipper Pat Cummins, as the silent, smiling Australian assassin guided the multi-time World Cup-winning side to numerous memorable championship title wins and concluded the year with a huge win over Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test, in which he also took a ten-wicket haul.
The year is definitely not the one to remember for Cummins on a personal front, as he lost his mother Maria to breast cancer in March of this year. But in what has been an inspiring story filled with passion for the sport and country, resilience, tonnes of mental and physical strength and determination, the skipper led from the front and made the Men in Yellow, the cricketing fraternity and most importantly, his mother, proud.
Here is a look at Cummins’ 2023 at a glance:
-Retaining the Ashes as captain
Having not won the Ashes in England since 2001, Australia headed to the UK with a lot of expectations and pressure on their shoulders. On the other side, a reenergized England was unleashing their ‘Bazball’ rampage on their opponents under the leadership of skipper Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.
The first Test at Edgbaston was a thrilling encounter, with “ice in the veins” captain Cummins scoring a fighting 44* and stitching a 55-run stand with Nathan Lyon during a tense but a successful 281-run chase.
It set the tone for a highly competitive, intense five-match Test series that had everything from top performances to endless controversies and debates on ‘Spirit of Cricket’. The series ended in a 2-2 draw and Aussies retained the Ashes.
Cummins starred in the series with 18 wickets, with the best figures of 6/91 and also made 162 runs with his bat in nine innings, worth its weight in gold.
-Defeating India in ICC World Test Championship final
In the finals of the ICC World Test Championship, the Aussies once again broke the hearts of Indian players and millions of their followers as India’s wait for an ICC trophy continued. Centuries from Travis Head and Steve Smith in the first inning ultimately led to India chasing 444 runs in the fourth inning but being bundled out for just 234 runs.
Cummins took four wickets, including 3/83 in the first innings, which included the scalps of skipper Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane.
-Securing sixth ICC Cricket World Cup for Australia
Captain Cummins had the humongous task of beating an invincible Team India in India during the ICC Cricket World Cup final. With some sharp bowling, great field settings and a Travis Head century, Australia repeated the heroics of the 2003 World Cup final, crushing the Men in Blue’s incredible 10-match winning streak to nothingness as their wait for a big trophy continued.
Cummins took 15 wickets in the tournament and scored 128 important runs in eight innings.
-Securing a ₹20.50 crores Indian Premier League (IPL) deal with SRH
In the IPL auctions recently held in Dubai, Pat Cummins secured a ₹20.50 crore deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad, becoming the most expensive IPL player ever at one point before his teammate Mitchell Starc beat him with a ₹24.75 crore deal with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
-Victory and ten-wicket haul at home Boxing Day Test
In the home Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Cummins took 5/48 and 5/49 in both innings to guide Australia to 79-run win over a fighting Pakistan unit, winning the series 2-0 with a game left.
Cummins ended this year with 59 wickets in 24 matches, with the best bowling figures of 6/91. 42 of these wickets came in Tests, while 17 came in ODIs.
Cummins also delivered some valuable performances with the bat during the Ashes and World Cup, scoring 422 runs in 28 innings this year at an average of 21.10. His 44* against England in an instant classic first Ashes Test and 12* in a double century stand with Glenn Maxwell against Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup come to mind in an instant.
Pictures from X, ICC, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Melbourne Cricket Ground. (ANI)