LONDON: Australia's captain Pat Cummins remains unfazed by criticism over his captaincy following two tight victories at Edgbaston and Lord’s, a defeat at Leeds, and a draw in Manchester.
The fifth and final Test will begin at The Oval from Thursday with the hosts in with a chance to level the series.
Heading into the fifth and final Ashes Test with a 2-1 series lead and having retained the Ashes, the 30-year-old emphasised the need of having a thick skin to deal with everything.
Australia narrowly avoided a loss in Manchester to retain the Ashes and Cummins' tactics were criticised as the tourists played catch-up cricket. It all started with their poor batting performance after losing the toss in ideal batting conditions.
"I honestly haven’t read anything. A few things have come across my desk from the boys having a laugh. I’ve been in this job two years now, and you learn pretty quickly that you’ve got to have a thick skin," Sydney Morning Herald quoted Cummins as saying.
"It’s such a great bunch of players and staff here that we all know what everyone is about and how we are going to go about it, and for me, that’s more important than anything else. I’m not going to please everyone and everyone’s got opinions, but they aren’t facts, they’re opinions," Cummins added.
Cummins believes he will step down as captain before retiring as a player, but he has no plans to do so anytime soon. In the fourth Test, the right-arm pacer similarly struggled with the ball, taking only one wicket and allowing 129 runs in 23 overs.
"I think it does have a shelf life. I won’t put a date on it, I’ve got to get there first. I feel like every Test match I learn quite a bit, you just get exposed to more things with each game. I’m loving working with this team and the staff. Enjoying it at the moment, we’ll see what the future holds. I feel like with each game I’m getting better and I think there’s a fair bit more left in me," Cummins said of captaincy.
Even though Australia has already retained the urn, captain Cummins insisted that his team is still very eager to win the long-awaited Ashes series in England.
"I don’t think it’s shifted too much over the series, to be honest. I think Edgbaston again, was another moment where there wasn’t a lot in it (the pitch) for the bowlers. They scored almost 400 on day one and I don’t see it as too dissimilar to last week," Cummins said.
"I think you’ve got to hold your nerve a little bit sometimes, you’ve got to trust that’s your best percentage to get nicks even if they hit a few cover drives. You’ve got to keep your catchers in, you’ve got to take wickets. I think we’ve been pretty consistent this series," he added.