Run-rate manipulation would've been against Spirit of Cricket: Cummins

Cummins said he had a talk with Hazlewood about the latter's comments, and said the thought about NRR never really figured in anybody's thought process.
Australia's Josh Hazlewood (R) and teammate Pat Cummins during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group B cricket match between Australia and England at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 8, 2024.
Australia's Josh Hazlewood (R) and teammate Pat Cummins during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group B cricket match between Australia and England at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 8, 2024.(File photo | AFP)

GROS ISLET: Insisting that Josh Hazlewood's remarks were not serious, Australia lead pacer Pat Cummins said they would have never tried to manipulate their net run rate to knock England out of the ongoing T20 World Cup, which would have been "against the Spirit of Cricket".

Pacer Hazlewood had sparked a controversy when he said Aussies would try to eliminate England from the tournament if there was such an opportunity for them in their upcoming Group B match against Scotland.

“I think when you go out and play you are trying your best every time and if you are not, that's probably against the spirit of cricket. We haven't really thought too deeply because it's (NRR manipulation) never really popped up,” Cummins told reporters here.

Cummins said he had a talk with Hazlewood about the latter's comments, and said the thought about NRR never really figured in anybody's thought process.

"I was speaking to Joshy, who had a bit of a joke about it the other day, and think it (his comments) got taken a little bit out of context. We'll go there and just try and play Scotland who have had a really good tournament so far and will be tough.

"It's (NRR) something you kind of discuss as one of the quirks of the set-up but in terms of does it change the way we play, absolutely not,” Cummins offered.

“I've never stepped into the field without the mindset of trying to take the game on and be aggressive, like the guys have so far,” he added.

Australia's Josh Hazlewood (R) and teammate Pat Cummins during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group B cricket match between Australia and England at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 8, 2024.
Hazlewood's comments on England: To be or not to B, that is the question

Cummins himself would know a fair bit about the Spirit of Cricket as he was in the eye of a storm during the last Ashes as Alex Carey's stumping off Jonny Bairstow paved away for heated debates.

However, the scenario of Australia manipulating their NRR does no longer exist after England's thumping eight-wicket over Oman on Friday at Antigua. The victory has boosted England's NRR to 3.08, well ahead of Scotland's 2.16.

If England manage to go past Namibia on Saturday, and Australia beat Scotland, then the Three Lions can enter the Super Eight. However, if Scotland (5 points) beat Australia, then England (3 points) will have to pack their bags.

Senior pacer Mitchell Starc will be available for selection after sitting out of the match against Namibia with a sore calf, but Cummins said the management has not taken any call towards the rotation of players.

"I haven't spoken to the selectors, so, I don't know what they're thinking. But I wouldn't be surprised. I know going into the start of the tournament, in a perfect world, we'd get a game into just about all the squad members,” he noted.

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