Pat Cummins dismisses question on No.1 bowler Siraj with one-word reply before India vs Australia ODIs

Sep 22, 2023 06:37 AM IST

Australia captain Pat Cummins' reply was not surprising at all, and neither was the question on India pacer Mohammed Siraj.

Australia captain Pat Cummins dismissed a question on India pacer Mohammed Siraj ahead of the series opener at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. Cummins, who is making a comeback from an injury break, had a one-word answer when he was asked whether Australia have a special plan to tackle an in-form Siraj during the three-match ODI series starting on Friday. "No," bang came Cummins' reply in the pre-match press conference on Thursday.

India's Mohammed Siraj celebrates(AP)
India's Mohammed Siraj celebrates(AP)

Cummins' reply was not surprising at all, and neither was the question. After what Siraj did to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final a few days ago is bound to force any opposition to think. The right-arm pacer equalled Chaminda Vaas' record for the joint quickest five-wicket haul in an ODI. He took five wickets in only 17 balls to decimate the Sri Lanka batting order.

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Siraj bowled 7 overs on the trot and returned with figures of 6/21 that helped India bowl Sri Lanka out for 50 - the lowest they conceded to bowl an opposition out in ODI cricket. Siraj's figures were the best for India in the Asia Cup. If it wasn't for three quick wickets for Hardik Pandya to wrap up the tail, then Siraj could well have broken Stuart Binny's record for the best-ever bowling figures (6/5 against Bangladesh) by an Indian.

He also became the No.1-ranked bowler in the latest ICC ODI rankings.

Siraj, however, is not a new proposition for Australia. In fact, the Hyderabad pacer made his Test debut in Australia and played an important part in India winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia for the second time in a row.

Australia are very well aware of the threat Siraj brings. In fact, not only Siraj but India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will also pose a few questions to Australia with the new ball but Cummins, like a true Australian skipper, did not give out anything.

What he did give out was the fact that Australia, just like India, are set to try out different combinations to fine-tune their plans before the World Cup

"Want to strike a balance between getting used to the conditions and getting a few wins under our belts. We don't want to get to the first game (of the World Cup) under-prepared. We want to try out a few combinations, a few different players but ideally, we have structured the combination we want to go about. As a captain, I want to get used to how to use my bowlers here. Might be a bit different to South Africa and Australia. Does the second spinner play a part? Hopefully, we'll get a few answers to that in the next few games," he said.

India have rested captain Rohit, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav for the first two matches of the series. India's main motive in this series will be to figure out a backup for Axar Patel, who picked up an injury in the Asia Cup. The choice is between the experienced R Ashwin and the young Washington Sundar.

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