Captain Pat Cummins and other Australian players have started to arrive home after days of celebrations in India following their stunning against-the-odds triumph in the ODI World Cup cricket final.
The incredible win over the host nation had all sorts of experts eating their words and the cricketing world heaping praise on Cummins’ leadership and the performance of Travis Head.
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It wasn’t just Head’s extraordinary 137 that broke 100-000-plus Indian fans’ hearts in Ahmedabad, but one game-changing catch to get rid of India captain Rohit Sharma and a couple of miserly overs with the ball that completed one of the great individual efforts ever witnessed in global cricket’s biggest showpiece.
In the aftermath of the victory, several photos surfaced of Head looking a little worse for wear, including one which he posted of himself with Adam Zampa – medals in mouths and drink in hand – with the words, “We ain’t leaving.”
Travis Head with the World Cup trophy and Head and Zampa with their medals. Credit: InstagramHead and Marsh enjoy the moment. Credit: Instagram
Reports have surfaced that the Aussies partied long and hard after the unlikely victory.
And, by the looks of it, Australia’s newest hero did the lion’s share.
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Seven members of the squad have remained in India to feature in the looming Twenty20 series, while the other half have returned to prepare for the Test summer.
Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Zampa are among those who have remained for the T20 series that kicks off November 24.
But, upon arriving back to Australia, allrounder Mitch Marsh was uncertain if Head would be in a fit state for those opening T20 matches.
“I’m no selector or coach but, if he plays that game, it’ll be a miracle,” Marsh said after landing in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Another photo of Marsh – shared by Cummins – with his feet on the World Cup trophy also caused a stir on social media.
“It’s got a bit of legs that photo, hasn’t it? Pardon the pun,” he said, but he was also unaware of any criticisms that had come his way.
“Am I (copping it)?” he asked. “I haven’t seen a lot but there you go.”
Marsh is the son of Geoff Marsh, who was a star opening batter for Australia in the 1980s and was part of the Aussie team that won the 1987 World Cup which was also held in India and Pakistan.
Marsh and the controversial photo with his feet on the trophy. Credit: Instagram
“It was 40 years ago that Dad won in India, and to follow in his footsteps is pretty crazy,” Marsh said.
“To have him there, and celebrate winning World Cups – he’s a past player, so always love having those guys in the change rooms. It was awesome.”
Cummins believes his team have created a career-defining legacy with their World Cup win, after a long six months on the road in India and England.
Australia’s triumph came after two months in India earlier this year, followed by another two months in England for the Ashes with only brief breaks before the World Cup.
The year has netted them a World Test Championship victory and ODI World Cup win, after also retaining the Ashes on foreign soil to go with a 2-1 Test series loss in India.
“I think they have created their own legacy,” Cummins said as he touched down at Sydney Airport.
“A World Cup, you only get one chance every four years and especially playing somewhere like India, it’s hard.
“To be pitted up against the rest of the world and come away with a medal, it doesn’t get any better than that.
“Adding to that an away Ashes series, A World Test Championship. We couldn’t have planned for much better. So a pretty satisfied group.”
Cummins said he was still “buzzing” from the win, with Sunday’s six-wicket triumph over the host nation in the final yet to fully sink in.
Cummins, Head and Marnus Labuschagne pose with the trophy after their heroic win. Credit: AP
Widely praised for his captaincy in the semi-final and final, Cummins admitted he thought Australia’s tournament was close to over after they lost their first two games to India and South Africa.
“To be honest (I did think we were long odds),” Cummins said.
“It almost became a sudden death really. We thought we pretty much had to be flawless from there on in just to make the semis.
“And we pretty much were. We started to find ways to win, even when we weren’t having our best days.
“Even before the tournament, we knew playing ODI cricket in India, it’s a pretty tough assignment.
“So just to make the semis we were pretty pumped and keen to go a bit further.”
The core of Australia’s group will fight for the country to have all five ICC men’s and women’s trophies at next year’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.
That will likely be the last major tournament for the majority of the squad, with seven players aged 32 or older and only four players in their 20s.
Asked if the three pace bowlers could still be around for the next ODI World Cup in South Africa after they also lifted the trophy in 2015, Josh Hazlewood conceded it was unlikely he, Mitchell Starc and Cummins would all feature.
“South Africa, that might suit us. But four years is a long time, so we’ll see,” Hazlewood said.
– With AAP
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