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Australia's Captain Pat Cummins' Pre-Match Press Conference ahead ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Final against India

Ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Final against India, Australia's Captain Pat Cummins shared his insights and team strategies in a pre-match press conference. Cummins discussed the team's preparations and expectations for the high-stakes final showdown.

[Reporter:] First question, first have you had a look at the pitch?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, just had a look.

[Reporter:] And what did you make of it?

[Pat Cummins:] Again, I'm not a great pitch reader, but it looked pretty firm. They've only just watered it, so yeah, give it another 24 hours and have a look, but it looks like a pretty good wicket.

[Reporter:] Has it been used before?

[Pat Cummins:] Yes, I think Pakistan played someone there.

[Reporter:] So how do you expect it to play compared to Calcutta?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, hard to know I think it's been a bit more high scoring here throughout the tournament. Yeah, it's been a pretty good wicket, so yeah, hard to say.

[Reporter:] People are already building it up as India coming hard at you for the 2003 revenge as well as the WTC Final which you also played as a captain and won it and Indians also have the home advantage. You expect the Indians to come hard at you especially when they are in a kind of form which Australians were in 2003 and 2007?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, I mean, neither player from both sides were there in 2003, so it feels a long time ago. But we know it’s going to be a packed house. There's going to be 130,000 fans here supporting India. So, it's going to be awesome. They've been playing really well, undefeated this tournament. But we know at our best we can give them a good shake. We've played them quite a lot over the last couple years with success so it's all building up for a nice final.

[Reporter:] [inaudible]

[Pat Cummins:] I mean I wouldn't be surprised the way he bowled a couple of nights ago up in Kolkata was fantastic - bowled seven straight a couple of key wickets could have easily had a couple of more. Opening partnership between him and Josh Hazelwood's going to be a big one for us. Yeah, we saw what impact they can have in a game when they bowl like they did the other night. So, they're both big game players, played in a few ICC finals now, so know what it takes.

[Reporter:] You guys are no strangers to playing against India. As the start of the tournament, you have said that you have played India more than any other team. So just wanted to know that, have you faced any other more dominating Indian side or should I say any other more ruthless Indian side than this one?

[Pat Cummins:] I think it's hard to say. They've certainly played really well this World Cup. I think we certainly didn't - I don't think we scored par in that first game but we're one catch away from potentially being in front of that game. We won an ODI series here early on in the year. There's lots of moments we can draw on where we've had success against, you know, a really good Indian side.

[Reporter:] You said you know what it takes and you've played in a lot of big games before, big tests, big ODI’s, big T20s, but 100,000 people wanting you to fail is probably something new. How do you deal with that and how does the team deal with that?

[Pat Cummins:] I think you've got to embrace it. The crowd's obviously going to be very one-sided but it's also in sport there's nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent and that's the aim for us tomorrow. Yeah, you've just got to embrace every part of it, every part of a final even you know in the lead-up there's going to be noise and more people and interest and you just can't get overwhelmed. You got to be up for it, you got to love it and just know whatever happens it's fine but you just want to finish the day with no regrets.

[Reporter:] As a fast bowler, what do you think are the challenges you face while bowling on Indian wickets?

[Pat Cummins:] I think, similar to a lot of ODI cricket in general the ball obviously swings for a few overs but after that there's not much swing, so you've got to try and create wickets in other ways. It's not necessarily catches behind the wicket like you might have in Australia. You've got to be brave with some of the balls you use, slower balls, bouncers, you've got to find that balance between mixing it up but also not go chasing too much. I think we've struck that balance pretty well and at least over here in India a lot of time by the end of the innings, things like cutters work perhaps better than it does elsewhere in the world.

[Reporter:] I know you've said that you've stuck to the processes through the whole tournament but at zip and 2 and Sri Lanka none for 100, Was there ever a moment where you thought, you know - we might not make it this far?

[Pat Cummins:] Absolutely. Yeah. The proposition at that stage was basically we had to be flawless to make it through to the semis. And fortunately, we were. But yeah, absolutely, we knew we came up against two very good sides to start off with, but we were off the pace so we knew that we had to change pretty drastically and yeah, glad we did.

[Reporter:] Reaching the final without a dominant show, unlike in the past, how does it feel to take on a dominant India? Does the tag of eight finalists, five winners, play a role?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, I think with experience, and fortunately some of that experience is playing in World Cups where we've been dominant. We've won before. I think one of the pleasing things is I still don't feel like we've played the complete game. Maybe against Netherlands, but outside of that, we probably haven't. There have been no huge wins. We've had to fight for every win, but we've found a way to win. And different players have stood up at different times. So, I think taking that confidence, knowing that we don't have to be at our absolute best to challenge any team we can find a way through it. Yeah, I'm sure we'll draw a lot of confidence, all the boys draw a lot of confidence from that going into tomorrow.

[Reporter:] Has everyone pulled up okay from the other night and I suppose as an extension do you expect to go in unchanged?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, everyone's fine, yeah so, no injury issues at all so we'll, coaches and selectors haven't assessed the wicket so they'll come down tonight have a look and we'll pick a team later tonight.

[Reporter:] Given the discussion in the lead up to the last game around Marnus and Stoinis, is there any scope, I know you'll decide that later, but potentially that if it is more a batting friendly wicket that you could be tempted into going with the extra all-rounder?

[Pat Cummins:]

Potentially yeah, those are things we weigh up before every game. We're lucky, we've got a 15-man squad who we feel anyone can step in and perform. They're all ready to go. So, like every other game, we go through a process where coaches get together and chat through what they think or how they think the game's going to go about and then the selectors obviously pick the final 11.

[Reporter:] Which Indian bowler or a batsman will be challenging for your team tomorrow?

[Pat Cummins:] I mean they're all pretty well-rounded in all departments you know the one guy that didn't play at the start of the tournament who's done really well is obviously Mohammed Shami he's a class bowler to right and left armers, so yeah, he's going to be a big one but again that these are guys we’ve played a lot – so all our batters can draw in moments where they've taken on these bowlers and done well.

[Reporter:] The year that you guys have had – you’ve been on the road a lot, came close to winning a test series in India, the World Test Championship final, retaining the Ashes. And now, from where you were against Sri Lanka, to here, is this the cherry on top? And how would you sum up the year that you have, as captain and as a team?

[Pat Cummins:] I mean, it's been a huge year. There are four marquee events. If you have one of those in an off season, it's a big off season. We've got four of them. So being really proud of all those things you mentioned, not only the wins but the guys have spent, for some of the guys, probably spent less than a couple of weeks in their own bed since the end of the Aussie summer. One thing that's stayed consistent has been the morale in the group. The guys have been awesome. They're so up for every game they play. And to put ourselves in a position of this, it would just top off an incredible year and probably a career-defining year that a lot of us will look back on in years to come and be pretty proud of.

[Reporter:] Of all the teams, are Australia most equipped mentally to be immune to a partisan crowd of this size?

[Pat Cummins:] I mean, potentially. We play over here in India a lot so the noise is not something new - yeah, I think on this scale it's probably bigger than we would have experienced before but it's not something totally foreign to what we've had before. Everyone deals with it slightly differently you see Davey [Warner] probably dancing and winning the crowd over other guys just staying in their own bubble – yeah it should be good.

[Reporter:] Apart from Shami who else is particularly impressed you in this India side at the tournament so far, I think already played them once.

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, I think again, they're pretty well-rounded. They've got five guys that bowl ten overs pretty much every match. I think their spinners have done well through the middle overs, Kuldeep and Jadeja, so they're going to be a tough proposition like they always are. But you know, they've won every game, so they've been very impressive.

[Reporter:] How much importance you give to pitch going into a match? What if it suits to host side? And looking into this pitch, do you expect any change in tactics from Indian side?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, I mean, it's hard to say. It's obviously the same for both teams. No doubt playing on your own wicket in your own country has some advantages, similar to wickets that you've been playing your whole life. But we've played a lot of cricket over here. So, yeah, we'll wait and see. I think, of all the venues, perhaps this venue - the toss isn't as important as, say, a Mumbai Wankhede Stadium or other venues. So, we’ll be ready in terms of anything they'll throw at us. Yeah, we'll wait and see, but we'll make sure we have some plans.

[Reporter:] Weather has changed. The difference in temperature after sunset and before is seven to eight degrees. Do you think that will impact in any way, kind of you decide what to do first… you said the wicket is very firm, but will it impact?

[Pat Cummins:] Yeah, I think the biggest difference is the dew. This city and venue seems to have more dew than a lot of the other places we play. So perhaps, yeah, that's something to think about ahead of tomorrow. Again, it might only be the last quarter of the game but once that settles in and the ball is sliding on it's quite different to say the first 20 overs where it might be swinging. So, something to consider. You’ve got to weigh up batting during the day when it might be a bit easier than under lights, but knowing that late in the second innings it could also slide on.

[Reporter:] If I take you back in 1999, Steve Waugh’s mighty Australia, started the World Cup with two losses out of first three. And then he made his famous remark, seven to win to leave the trophy. So, this time your team also started with two losses, and now you are in the final one more to go. Do you find any similarity?

[Pat Cummins:] I mean, I keep saying it's a long time ago, so we can't draw too many conclusions from that. But I'm happy to draw a conclusion from that one. So yeah, I like it.

[Reporter:] Any special plan for Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma?

[Pat Cummins:] We'll have a couple of thoughts, they're two class players so we'll come up with some plans but nothing specific.

[Reporter:] In the past a lot of illustrious names have led Australia to titles. Have you thought about what would it mean for you personally to probably do that? And is the ODI World Cup still the pinnacle at least in terms of white ball cricket for you guys?

[Pat Cummins:] It would be huge. We were all kids not too long ago, watching some of those great teams win the 99, 2003, 2007 World Cups. That's the opportunity ahead of us tomorrow, which is really exciting. To be captain would be an absolute privilege to lift the trophy with these great bunch of blokes. So yeah, it'd be awesome and in terms of the pinnacle, I think it is right up there, it's got the longest history of a world event where all the teams compete. You only get a shot at it every four years. So even if you have a long career, you might only play in two of these events. 2015 is still a career highlight for me, so I think tomorrow if we win, we might pip it.

[Reporter:] Australia has a reputation of knowing how to win World Cup titles. You guys are five-time champions and going against two-time champions. Do you feel like you are the favourites?

[Pat Cummins:] Don't know about that. I think it's going to be an even match. I think you can make a case for either side. The good thing is I think we've got six or seven guys that won it in 2015 so we know that feeling. Even more of the guys that were there in the T20 World Cup, different format, but pretty much everyone, well at least a dozen of the 15, have won a World Cup and know what it takes and know that feeling and won't be afraid to go out there and be brave and take the game on.