Pat Cummins has capped off the best year of his career as a cricket player and captain, leading Australia to victory in the World Cup final over India. For all the hate and criticism he receives for his actions on and off the field, there is no denying the extraordinary year he has had as Australia's skipper.
In July his side retained the Ashes on English soil before beating India in the World Test Championship final. They then overcame all the odds to beat the tournament hosts in their own backyard to win the ODI World Cup in front of 130,000 fans hoping it went the other way.
On a personal level, Cummins has continued to shine with the ball while also playing part in three game-changing partnerships with the bat. He combined with Nathan Lyon to win the first Ashes Test while eight wickets down, before sticking around during Glenn Maxwell's double century to beat Afghanistan earlier in the World Cup.
He then combined with Mitchell Starc to get his side over the line in the semi-final against South Africa. But Sunday's final was his crowning achievement as he produced a number of tactical masterstrokes to take down India. His decision to bowl first was the correct call, while the rotation of his bowlers kept India on their toes as they only managed 240 while batting first.
Pat Cummins' World Cup triumph after personal tragedy
Cummins' year is even more remarkable given he did it all after the devastating death of his mother Maria. The Aussie captain flew home from the Test tour of India in March to be with his ailing mum, who later died.
"I've obviously had a really big year," he said after Sunday's final - Australia's sixth men's World Cup triumph. "I know my family at home is watching, just got a message from dad saying he's had a lot of 4am wake-ups, not going to bed until 4am, so he's as pumped as anything.
"You sacrifice a lot to play for Australia and everyone in the team has and we've spent a lot of this year away but we do it for these moments. This is huge, that's the pinnacle in cricket, winning a World Cup, especially here in India, in front of a crowd like this."
When asked if dismissing Virat Kohli in the final was as sweet a moment as he has experienced in cricket, the 30-year-old replied: "I think so. We did take a second in the huddle just to acknowledge the silence that was going around the crowd. It just felt like it was one of those days where it was all made for him (Kohli) to score another hundred like he normally does - so that was satisfying."
Ricky Ponting smacks down Pat Cummins haters
According to Ricky Ponting, there can be no doubts about Cummins' captaincy anymore. "I think that's been almost faultless, to be honest," he said after the final. "I mean, any captain deciding to bowl first at the toss, that's a gutsy, courageous move.
"Australia felt that if they could bowl well on that dry wicket early on and restrict India, batting was gonna get easier in the second innings - but we all know if you get that call wrong and you lose the game, that's a huge decision to make for a relatively young captain. I thought his leadership actually has got better and better right through the tournament. His bowling has got better, and the way he used his bowlers today and some of his field placements to (Virat) Kohli and KL Rahul, outstanding, so once again, an Australian team just finds a way to get it done in the final."
Pat cummins I'm sure your mum will be proud of you https://t.co/2f5HaLVbWT
— christopher crocker aleague 2023 champions (@thecrock1) November 19, 2023
Pat Cummins has been through the mill in 2023.
He lost his mum following a battle with breast cancer in March, then had his captaincy and leadership routinely questioned.
Now he’s a World Cup-winning captain after retaining the Ashes on English soil.
Incredible resilience 👏🏻🇦🇺
— Nathan Ridley (@nathan_ridley_) November 19, 2023
Patty making his mum proud by winning everything and here I'm getting sick, crying every night, not focusing on studies, not taking with many relatives bcz i hate this feeling of missing papa and not able to hug him. I need to learn from Cummins, high time need to make papa proud
— Cummins's Aditi 🇮🇳 (@Sev_Khamani) November 19, 2023
Pat Cummins's mum watching from the heavens, proud. 💖
— Phantom💀 (@R_Dravia) November 19, 2023
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