Zampa hammers Clarke's ‘Cummins to be dropped’ claim with WhatsApp revelation | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Zampa hammers Clarke's ‘Cummins will be dropped’ claim with WhatsApp revelation after Australia beat Sri Lanka

Oct 17, 2023 09:42 AM IST

Adam Zampa rubbished Clarke's claims on Australia captain Pat Cummins losing his spot in the middle of the World Cup.

Pat Cummins was under a lot of pressure before the match against Sri Lanka. He himself or the Australian players might not admit to it publicly but he sure was. Australia had gotten off to one of their worst-ever starts in World Cup history by losing back-to-back matches to India and South Africa. The five-time champions just didn't turn up in those two crucial fixtures. In a tournament where sixes and centuries have been the norm for all top teams, Australia failed to cross the 200-run mark in their first two matches of the tournament. Their bowlers did pick up a few early wickets against India but then lacked fizz when there was a partnership. Their fielding was abysmal with drop catches and midfield galore.

Adam Zampa talks to reporters after Australia beat Sri Lanka
Adam Zampa talks to reporters after Australia beat Sri Lanka

Despite all this, Cummins' captaincy let alone his place in the XI was never in doubt. Two disappointing performances surely can't be reason enough to even contemplate such a knee-jerk reaction from a team like Australia. It was, therefore, surprising, to say the least, when former Australia captain Michael Clarke said he had heard about a possible axe falling on Cummins for the Sri Lanka match.

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"I heard last night that Pat Cummins is not going to be selected for this game," Clarke told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast in Australia. "If Pat Cummins is going to get dropped and not captain the team, then you guys have selected the wrong captain."

Nothing of that sort happened in reality. Cummins not only walked out for the toss against Sri Lanka on Monday but also played a crucial role in helping Australia get off the mark in World Cup 2023 by beating Sri Lanka by five wickets in Lucknow.

Zampa's strong response to Clarke's claim on Cummins

Player of the Match Adam Zampa, who picked up 4/47 to blow away Sri Lanka's middle-order, was asked about the chatter around Cummins' spot being under threat. The leg-spinner brushed aside by saying that the team is behind their captain and they do not pay heed to what is being said or written outside.

"We all back each other 100% in this team, so I don't really know what's been said or what people are reading, but the only thing that I saw come on the WhatsApp group was the same 11 as last game. So yeah, there's no pressure on Pat there. As I said, we’ve got a really good feeling in the group in terms of backing each other, looking after each other. So yeah, I don't know who said that," Zampa told reporters after Australia's win.

He, in fact, termed Cummins' spell a game-changing moment in the match. "I thought Cummins’ spell in particular was a bit of a game changer for us and even his energy in the field, the run out after the rain break, yeah, it changed the energy for us. And then once, you know, I was able to get a couple, we got on a bit of a roll and the energy changed in the group. So yeah, we needed that one."

Sri Lanka were 125 for no loss at one stage when Cummins cramped Pathum Nissanka for room and David Warner took a brilliant catch to break the opening stand. The Australian captain then cleaned up Kusal Perera, the other opener, for 78, to trigger a collapse.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 209. In reply, Mitchell Marsh (52) and Josh Inglis (58) struck impressive half-centuries as Australia reached home in 35.2 overs.

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