Pat Cummins; Australian skipper explains he’s all in on national captaincy above T20 tournaments

Pat Cummins conceded his elevation to Australia’s Test and now one-day captaincy and his desire to be “mentally fresh” for every game was key to him opting out of the Indian Premier League and a possible million dollar payday.

After declaring he was over a bout of gastro which left him bedridden at home and ready to start his ODI captaincy against England in Adelaide on Thursday, Cummins said the physical and mental workload in front of him demanded he find time for a break.

That meant skipping the IPL, like three-format teammate Mitch Starc with the Australians staring at 100 days cricket before next year’s 50-over World Cup in India.

“I really do love playing in the IPL but just looking at the schedule the decision was pretty easy,” Cummins said on Wednesday.

“I was totally depleted after the last Ashes (in England) in 2019 so I just want to be going there as fresh as I can be.

“There’s just so much cricket in the next 12 months really, (that) was the deciding factor, we’ve got 15 test matches, hopefully, we make the Test championship final,”

“There’s plenty of ODIs, then the ODI World Cup, if I played that I wouldn’t get much of a break so try and pinch some time at home.

“In the past I made decisions on wanting to be physically fresh, being captain that has added the element of trying to be mentally fresh with decision-making and trying to be up for it.

“There’s a small little window when I am captain and have these amazing series that we are going to be a part of next year, it’s one of those things that you don’t want to look back on at the end of your career and think you didn’t give it a crack.”

The decision by Cummin’s came as little surprise to national coach Andrew McDonald who said it was one all his fast bowlers in particular had to weigh up.

Josh Hazlewood, who also plays all three formats, was retained by his IPL franchise for the 2023 season having played in the past two tournaments.

“I think it says a lot about where (Cummins’) focus is as the national captain but also a fast bowler within that bowling unit,” McDonald told SEN.

“We have see a lot of our fast bowlers over time make these decisions around the best interests of Australian cricket. We aren’t surprised by the decision. I think he’s conscious of looking after his body.”

Despite concessions from England the timing of the series wasn’t great after their T20 World Cup success Cummins, who said the early Australian exit from the tournament demanded some “self-review”, was adamant there was a lot to play for, and expected a bold showing from the visitors.

“They might be a little bit short on sleep but they‘re a class side,” Cummins said.

“A few of their squad members for the ODIs weren‘t in the T20s which I’m sure will create a bit of impact, so they’ll be strong, even if a bit tired.

“We’ve got a few new personnel as well, Trav Head is in the squad are we are challenging ourselves against the current titleholders, and most in-form team around the world.

“There’s a lot to play for.”

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