Cummins: Australia would never have manipulated England’s exit

England
Pat Cummins has said Australia would never have contemplated manipulating their net run rate to knock England out of the T20 World Cup 2024 and believed any such tactics would be against the Spirit of Cricket.
The scenario where Australia could have won against Scotland by a close enough margin to eliminate England is no longer on the table after Jos Buttler’s side thrashed Oman in record style to boost their net run rate over Scotland’s, meaning if they beat Namibia then Scotland will have to overcome Australia to qualify for the Super Eight.

But Cummins, who himself had been at the centre of a Spirit of Cricket debate around Jonny Bairstow’s stumping in the Ashes at Lord’s last year, insisted it’s a tactic that would never have been considered and that Hazlewood’s comments were not serious.

“I think when you go out and play you are trying your best every time and if you are not, that’s probably against the spirit of cricket,” he told reporters in St Lucia before the result of the England-Oman match. “Haven’t really thought too deeply because it’s never really popped up.

“I was speaking to Joshy, who had a bit of a joke about it the other day, and think it got taken a little bit out of context. We’ll go there and just try and play Scotland who have had a really good tournament so far and will be tough. It’s [net run rate] something you kind of discuss as one of the quirks of the set-up but in terms of does it change the way we play, absolutely not.

“I’ve never stepped into the field without the mindset of trying to take the game on and be aggressive, like the guys have so far.”

However, with no benefits carried forward from the group stage to the Super Eight in either points or net run rate, Australia are likely to rest some players against Scotland. Cameron Green, Josh Inglis and Ashton Agar are yet to feature in the tournament and there’s a chance all three could be given a run before the next stage.

Mitchell Starc is on track to be available having sat out the Namibia game after suffering some calf soreness against England. Cummins was earlier rested from the opening match against Oman with Nathan Ellis coming into the side on both occasions.

“I haven’t spoken to the selectors or anyone, so I don’t know what they’re thinking,” Cummins said of the option to rotate players. “But I wouldn’t be surprised. I know going into the start of the tournament, in a perfect world, we’d get a game into just about all the squad members.”

However, Cummins, who is back in the ranks for this tournament with Mitchell Marsh captaining, added he did not expect resting once the Super Eight stage began even though teams face the prospect of five games in ten days, with travel in between, should they reach the final.

“It’s a bit of a luxury now in this first section of the tournament but once we get to the Super Eights don’t think they’ll be any resting. Definitely [can play all the games], we are used to playing Test cricket so four overs is a breeze. There’s no workload issues at all. You start prioritising sleep, refuelling and those kind of things but in terms of getting up for the game, it’s fine. We’ve done it loads of times, loads of IPL games are kind of play, fly to the other side of the country and play again. Same with BBL. It’s not necessarily new. It will be busy but we are kind of used to it.”

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