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Cummins Prepared for First Taste of T20 Captaincy

Cummins Prepared for First Taste of T20 Captaincy

With a career at the top level spanning nearly 13 years, Saturday (March 23) will mark a first for Pat Cummins. Sunrisers Hyderabad’s IPL 2024 opener against Kolkata Knight Riders will be Cummins’ first as captain of any T20 side. Cummins was the recipient of a winning bid of INR 20.50 crores at the most recent auction after a prolific 2023 in which he led Australia to the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup titles.

“It’s got its challenges,” Cummins said on the eve of the clash at Eden Gardens. “In that you play 14 games in six-seven weeks, plus finals. I’m used to playing a lot of Test cricket, so four overs isn’t as taxing on your body. But it can be mentally taxing, the travel, obviously a different country, play a new team every few days you have to prepare for…

“But it’s nothing new, we’ve done it before. Obviously, the game day is most important. That’s what we put most days into. No teams play the same XI for all 14 games. I am sure we’ve got to call on our squad and we’re lucky we’ve got a young, fit squad. I think it’s been a part of the IPL, you have expectations, you have a lot of fans who demand a lot out of the team, they want results.

Cummins Set for T20 Captaincy Debut

In the SRH squad, Cummins will have a teammate who was a key figure in the final of each of those two title wins – Travis Head. But managing the rest of them, including their roles and responsibilities in this setup will need some work. “The biggest difference is that you know your team-mates really well playing for Australia. There’s a lot of things that don’t need to be said, because I have played with Joshie Hazlewood and Starc for 15 years. So there’s a real kind of trust and you just don’t really need to say much, everything kind of runs by itself,” Cummins said.

On Saturday, there will also be a familiar face in the opposition camp in the form of Mitchell Starc, who will play his first IPL game in nine years. Starc, in fact, was signed up by KKR with an IPL record bid of INR 24.75 crores. Cummins conceded it would be weird to see his fast bowling partner in the ‘other dugout.

“It’s funny… it’s one of the beauties of the IPL; I have been playing with Starcy for 15 years, [and] I can’t remember another game where I have played against him. Also it’s going to be weird looking across and seeing him in the other dugout. “Yeah, being an opposition captain, seeing how we go about playing him will be an interesting part of tomorrow. But we’re both bowlers, so I am not sure we’ll cross [paths] too much.”

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