Most matches of the recently-concluded Asia Cup 2022 went right down to the wire. The matches were so intense and closely fought that social media was flooded with “time for World Cup to match Asia Cup standards” tweets. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh could not have asked for a better tournament to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia, slated to begin in less than a month’s time. One would believe that other big teams like Australia, England, New Zealand, and West Indies would have closely followed the developments of the Asia Cup in Dubai to get a better idea about their opponents from the subcontinent in the World Cup, right? Wrong. At least Australia’s Test captain Pat Cummins wasn’t one of them.
Cummins, who will lead the Australian attack in the three-match T20I series against India starting Tuesday in Mohali, said he didn’t follow the Asia Cup at all but he definitely knew that Virat Kohli had scored a hundred.
“To be totally honest, I didn’t see any of that tournament. I think Sri Lanka won? Honestly, I didn’t see any of it. I saw Virat Kohli, I think he scored a hundred, yeah he’s a class player, he was always going to return to form at some point in time. He’s going to be a challenge this next week,” Cummins said on Sunday while replying to a Hindustan Times query.
Kohli was India’s second highest scorer in the Asia Cup with 286 runs in five matches including two fifties and a hundred. The Kohli innings that Cummins is aware of despite not following the Asia Cup even one bit, came in a Super 4 match against Afghanistan. Kohli smashed an unbeaten 122 – the highest individual score by an Indian in a T20I – off just 61 balls.
Though India did not reach the final of the Asia Cup, Kohli’s return to form was one of the tournament’s highlights, and Cummins agreed.
Cummins obviously has a lot of experience of playing in India like many other Australian cricketers currently in the touring party. The 29-year-old said one needs to adapt to the pace at which a T20 is played in India.
“I think a lot of games in India are played at a different pace as compared to Australia, the boundaries are normally a bit smaller. I think you need to adapt really quickly, you will have some days where the wicket is a bit slower, then cutters and those types of things are really important for the bowlers. So, everyone here has played a lot in India and everyone understands it. It is a format you have to be up for, and if it does not work on the day, then you need to move on quickly from it,” he added.
When Cummins was asked about Australia’s T20I captain Aaron Finch, who announced his retirement from ODIs a couple of weeks ago, the tall fast bowling all-rounder said Finch had led Australia to the World T20 title less than 12 months ago and hence will continue to be an important cog in the defending champions wheels.
“Just the normal Aaron Finch, he has been great. Had a bit of a chat with him, and he said he’s in a good space. Even in the ODIs, he knew it was time in his own mind. He seems fantastic, it was only 12 months ago that he led us to a T20 World Cup victory so he is raring to go, and he will be a key player as he always is.”