When Australia won the T20 World Cup in 2021, it felt like they had finally secured that global trophy that had long eluded them. But the reality is that there is another, albeit newly created, trophy that literally slipped through their fingers in 2021.
“I think being new it probably didn’t hit us until the game was actually played and you saw there that New Zealand did well and you wish you were there,” said Cummins Tuesday in Perth. “So I feel like the second time there’s a little bit more. It was like a big missed opportunity that first time. So it definitely gives a little bit more context to each series now, whatever big thing to play for.”
“The big series, say the Ashes or India series where you play four or five Test matches are obviously big battles, whereas the more mainstream series where you play two or three in a series, that gives them a bit more context. overall and something a little extra to play with,” Cummins said.
Also for the first time, Cummins and a few of his teammates have started talking about how important the next eight months of Test cricket are to a group of players nearing the end of their Test careers.
David Warner, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood are all in their 30s, with Warner, Khawaja and Lyon on the other side of 35 having formed the backbone of Australia’s squad. testing over the past 10 years. . Alex Carey and Marcus Harris, who are also on the team, are also over 30, while Cummins turns 30 in May next year.
“Over the next six or seven months we have 15 Test matches, hopefully there won’t be any turnover before that, but of course it happens,” Cummins said.
“To be honest, it’s the most stable team I’ve played in. You probably could have picked the team 12 months ago. I feel like we’re in a good place.”
An eight-month streak of Test cricket, comprising 15 Tests against the West Indies and South Africa at home, India and England away, and the WTC final if they get there, is a golden opportunity for a group that has not collected so many major players. Test the trophies as perhaps warranted by their collective talent, despite currently being ranked No. 1 in the world. It feels like these 15 Tests could cement a legacy as a great Australian team.
“I think it’s such an exciting opportunity for our group, to play four of the biggest rounds you’ll play as an Aussie Test cricketer within six or seven months, it’s a once in a lifetime career opportunity,” Cummins said. “That’s all we have ahead of us, it’s exciting. Obviously a summer at home is always important, with a Test World Championship it’s something big to play for. We’re getting a few wins here “, that pretty much guarantees our place in London. We all come here fresh. We know it’s a big block of cricket and we’re glad we did.”
Anything short of winning all five Tests at home this summer against West Indies and South Africa could leave them vulnerable to missing the WTC Finals again, given they have a tough four Test tour. in India to negotiate in February and March, having won only one. Test it in 14 since the triumph of the 2004 series.
Neither home opponent will be easy to navigate, with West Indies unbeaten in Test cricket in 2022 while South Africa sit second on the WTC table despite losing their last two Tests to England in the middle. of year.
Australia is well aware of the opportunity that presents itself. They must now take it with both hands.
Alex Malcolm is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo
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