Cricket

Ashes 2021-22: You don't need to sledge or try to impress someone, just be yourself, Cummins tells players

Melbourne: Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins has told his players to just be themselves instead of resorting to sledging just because "it might have been done like that in the past."

Ever since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, the Australian cricketing culture has undergone a serious review for its win-at-all-cost approach in the past. Not a single untoward incident has been witnessed in the ongoing Ashes series, for which Cummins credited his teammates and not just his leadership style.

The England players applauded Usman Khawaja's effort of two hundreds in the Sydney Test and likewise, the Australians appreciated the good performers in the visitors camp.

Cummins, the first Australian fast bowler to lead a Test side, said his approach to leadership is quite similar to England's Eoin Morgan.

"I look at different leaders and someone like Eoin Morgan. I like his outlook on captaincy and how he brings the team together. I have worked with Eoin in the IPL for the last couple of years and we have very similar outlooks on life," Cummins was quoted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

"You have to be aware of it. From a couple of years ago it was obvious the world wanted all cricket teams, particularly the Aussie cricket team, to tone it down a little bit.

"I keep encouraging all of our players to be themselves. They do not have to try to impress anyone or sledge just because it might have been done like that in the past. Just be themselves.

Cummins said he has been quite proud of the team's conduct.

"No doubt, the first Tests have been pretty smooth sailing and it (sledging) is something to keep an eye on...You lead by your actions in this space. If I need to pull someone up (for sledging) I will, but everyone is an adult here.

"They have heard it loud and clear from the outside what is expected of us and from cricket fans in Australia. I will not be taking all the credit, the boys have been fantastic themselves."

Cummins said the Test format itself is such that inspires players to be at their best in every aspect.

"For just about every cricketer growing up in Australia, it is their preferred format. Test cricket means something in Australia. It is where history is made," he said.

"Ashes series 12 months out, you bump into people in the street and they are already saying they can't wait for the Ashes. It brings everyone together and gives us the chance to stamp our own legacy on the game."

And he is relishing the challenge of being Australia's Test skipper and won't mind if bowlers continue to lead the side.

Very few pacers have led their teams like Bob Willis (England), Kapil Dev (India), Courtney Walsh (West Indies) and Pakistan's Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

"I've always thought bowlers can be captains. I'm not sure if it is the start of a trend, but why not? My experience of being a bowler is really valuable when I'm in the field talking to other bowlers, trying to make bowling changes and setting fields.

"I feel like I can draw on my own experiences a lot. There is no reason why there can't be more bowling captains going forward."

Updated Date: January 12, 2022 12:19:32 IST

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