Pat Cummins, incredulous at how quickly he has become an Ashes series-winning captain this summer, said the ruthless thrashing of England has set his team up to become the world’s No.1 side over the next few years.
Cummins gave special praise to Mitchell Starc and Australia’s selection panel for giving a debut to Scott Boland, as Boland claimed the ridiculous figures of 6-7 to wrap up the third Test early on day three to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five game series.
Here’s everything Cummins said in his post-game press conference
“For me he’s just about the player of the series – fantastic,” said Cummins of his pace parter.
Starc has 14 wickets in the series, including three in England’s second innings 68 and he was monumental leading the Aussie attack in the second Test when Cummins was absent.
“You saw last week in Adelaide how he lifted and led the attack,” said Cummins. “This summer he’s gone to a new level.
“He’s experienced, he’s played 70 odd Test matches but he’s found another gear with the ball that’s not swinging – he’s taking wickets consistently, beating the outside edge consistently. He’s been titanic for us.”
Starc hasn’t been to everyone’s taste – notably Shane Warne who again questioned his place in the team before the first Test. The paceman has left his response to the playing field.
“At the start of the summer we spoke about how there is external pressure but absolutely zero internal pressure,” Cummins said.
“We know what a superstar he is. He’ll go down as one of the all time great Aussie bowlers and we have got to remember that sometimes.
“He’s got a strike rate under 50, has taken 250 odd wickets, he’s shown his class in all conditions.
“As a captain I feel so lucky I’ve got someone like him in my team – you know you’re going to give him the ball and he’s going to create something . I couldn’t be happier for him – a brilliant three Test matches so far.”
On the incredible debut by Boland/strong>
“When you bring in an experienced player why they’re so valuable is not only their on field performance but you know they’re very level, they’ve been through highs and lows over a professional sporting career,” said Cummins.
“He’s been really calm, confident in his own ability, and just brilliant around the squad. He quarantined with us when went to the Gold Coast a couple of months ago so he’s spent a good amount of time around the team bowling to our Test batters. It’s been a really good process leading into this Test match.
“I’m obviously incredibly impressed with the way he bowled in the first innings and this one in particular.
“But we’re not overly surprised. We knew he was going to do a great job for us on the MCG, probably surprised he took 6-7!
“But he did what the selectors picked him for. Just fantastic and more than just for Scotty the three selectors deserve a whole lot of credit. They’ve really picked a horses for courses type selection with Scotty and he showed there was enough info to pick him on and he repaid that faith.”
On his thoughts about wrapping up the series so quickly
“It’s always the dream but no,” Cummins said. “It’s all gone to plan. Even yesterday it felt like a day where England played really well but we managed to wrestle it back .
“Winning early on day three just doesn’t happen at the MCG so it’s a fantastic result. It’s the first ashes victory for a lot of the guys in the team. It’s a great feeling.
“I haven’t felt there’s been one session where it’s got away from us.
“It’s what dreams are made of the way we’ve played. Outside of the results there’s so many other positives as well – we’ve been able get a couple of debutants in, really build a squad of 15 odd players. It doesn’t just feel like a 3-0 victory – it feels like we’re really setting ourselves up for the next few years as well.
“We’ve got seven players in the top 10 in the world at the moment, four batters and three bowlers and we probably haven’t strung together the type of performances in the last couple of years that we expected from ourselves.
“I think this really consolidates we are a really good strong Test cricket side and it’s a good sign for the next few years.
“The Test championship is now a big thing – I absolutely want to be in that final in a couple of years time.”
“Winning away from home,” is another big challenge he is looking forward to, adding: “We’ve got a great opportunity to go over a couple of sub continent tours.”
On becoming an Ashes winning captain
“I grew up in the backyard watching Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting win Ashes series. It felt a million miles away from me playing cricket in the backyard and here I am a decade later.
“It’s madness. The MCG is a good reminder each year when you play the Boxing Day morning, you hear the anthem, there’s a packed house and millions of people watching at home. It’s a great reminder that you’re part of Australian history and Australian cricket history and it always takes me back to my childhood.
“This is nowhere near what I could imagine my life would be as a young kid.”
On Justin Langer’s future and the selection wins so far
Justin Langer has said he will seek an extension to his contract after this series but Cummins didn’t want to be drawn on that discussion for now.
But he was prepared to give selectors, headed by George Bailey, a wrap and noted it was a tough job trying to pick a bowling attack for the fourth Test.
Sir George Bailey.
— Tony Harper (@toneharper) December 28, 2021
“Good luck to them,” said Cummins. “Even Jhye Richardson with a niggle presented an opportunity to Scotty Boland but I thought it was a really brave call by the selectors to bring in Scotty for this game and full credit they’ve made the right call.
“For Sydney, Jhye will hopefully be available, Josh Hazlewood will hopefully be available, we still have Neser in the squad. We’ll wait and see, it’s a luxury at the moment. We have so many fit and available players who can step in.