Cricket World Cup

Australian greats reach ‘the pinnacle’ in a year for the ages


By Tom Bennett

Hit For Six!

This Australian team are a phenomenal group of cricketers, excelling across formats and conditions, with this latest triumph underlining their status as one of the great teams of any era.

Victory in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 comes six months after their ICC World Test Championship triumph, with the small matter of retaining the Ashes in between. Add in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup win that many of the same group of players featured in, and this crop of Australian cricketers have pulled themselves up to the level of all-time greats of the game.

Video CWC23 19 Nov 23
Australia break India's unbeaten streak to lift the World Cup | Match Highlights | CWC23

This is a team that has it all – power at the top of the order, quality with the bat through the middle, all-rounder options, a brilliant seam attack, a hugely effective spinner. And let’s not forget the strength of the fielding unit, which delivered in some style in Sunday’s World Cup final to keep the pressure up on India.

It really says something when Pat Cummins describes this latest glory as the best and biggest yet.

“I think it’s the pinnacle of international cricket, winning a one-day World Cup. Especially over here in India, in front of a crowd like this," a beaming Australian captain said after his team's wonderful win in Ahmedabad.

“It’s been a big year for everyone, but our cricket team has been here in India, the Ashes, World Test Championship and to top it off with this is just huge and these are the moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

“You only get a shot at it every four years. Even if you have a 10-year career, you might only get two chances at it. Just the whole cricket world stops with this World Cup. So, it doesn't get any better.”

Video CWC23 19 Nov 23
Inside the Aussie dressing room | CWC23 Final
A peek into the ecstatic Aussie dressing room as the trophy makes an appearance.

Strength and conditioning played a big role too, not least in the occasionally sweltering conditions that Australia were met with during the course of their campaign.

The wider staff did a superb job to ensure that the squad (one that was far from the youngest in the tournament and was carrying a few knocks) managed to peak at just the right moment.

There are few finer examples of that than Travis Head, who was backed to recover from a broken hand during the first half of the tournament before taking his place in the squad for the back end.

The physios worked their magic, Head buckled down, and the result was that Australia benefitted from a player hitting top form at just the right moment.

Back-to-back top scores and Player of the Match awards in both the semi-final and final – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Video CWC23 19 Nov 23
An amazing World Cup winning ton | CWC23
Travis Head won the Player of the Match award for his brilliant century in Ahmedabad.

“Travis Head was phenomenal,” Cummins enthused. “I think a lot of credit should also go to Andrew McDonald and George Bailey, the selectors, to take a punt. He had a broken finger, a broken hand, for half of the tournament, but to keep him in the squad was a huge risk. And the medical team were fantastic, obviously, to get him into a place where he could perform.

“That was a big risk, I think we could have been made to look really silly if that didn't pay off, but you've got to take those risks to win a tournament. And Trav, the player we've seen in Test cricket, he just epitomises everything I want out of a cricket team. He takes the game on, he plays with a smile, he just puts the pressure right back onto the opposition and he's just great fun to be around. So, I couldn't be happier for Trav.”

Australia’s celebrations were well and truly underway up in the locker room as captain Cummins finished off his media responsibilities for the day, with the party expected to last well into the week.

But, back home, millions of Australians, those who didn’t stay up through the night, will wake to the news of their team’s latest achievement. And Cummins says he always remains massively appreciative of all those at home who have supported the team, not least those closest to the players.

“I mean at this moment I'm just incredibly proud really of the year we've had. I know my family at home is watching, I just got a message from Dad saying he's had a lot of 4ams, not going to bed until 4am, so he's as pumped as anything.

“You sacrifice a lot to play for Australia, everyone in the team has, and we've spent a lot of this year away. But we do it for these moments. My wife and two girls are probably asleep, hopefully asleep, but they're all pumped, they do the journey with us. So, everyone's got their own story, but there's a lot of proud people out there in our team.”

Everyone does have their own story. In Pat Cummins’ story, 2023 will make for one hell of a chapter.


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