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Pat Cummins is game for IPL behind closed doors, but will miss the Indian ‘noise’


"Of course -- whatever it takes to try and get cricket up and play those big events safely," said Pat Cummins, in answer to a query whether he would welcome playing in front of empty stands. (Photo: Instagram/Pat Cummins)
"Of course -- whatever it takes to try and get cricket up and play those big events safely," said Pat Cummins, in answer to a query whether he would welcome playing in front of empty stands. (Photo: Instagram/Pat Cummins)

Australian pace bowling star Pat Cummins says he is prepared to play in the Indian Premier League behind closed doors as it would restore a degree of “normality” into daily life during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 26-year-old ICC Test player of the year — he took 59 wickets in 12 Tests — told the BBC that it would mean fans could at least watch some live sport at home.

The IPL season was postponed from March 29 until April 15 because of the pandemic, although the expectation is the tournament will be either delayed again or even cancelled should the lockdown in India be extended.

Another problem for Cummins and his compatriots is there are restrictions on Australians travelling overseas.

The two-month tournament — Cummins is contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders — is a huge revenue earner.

The Twenty20 competition is estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy and involves cricket’s top international stars like England’s Ben Stokes, Australia’s David Warner and Indian captain Virat Kohli.

“Of course — whatever it takes to try and get cricket up and play those big events safely,” said Cummins in answer to whether he would welcome playing in front of empty stands.

“The first priority is safety but the second one is getting back to normality.

“It’s finding that balance. If that unfortunately means no crowds for a while then that’s that but hopefully people can watch at home on television.”

Cummins said playing the IPL behind closed doors would have a “totally different feel about it”.

“When people ask about the difference between playing cricket in India, the first thing is the crowd,” he added.

“They scream every single ball whether it’s a six or a wicket — it’s the same noise every ball — so that atmosphere is something that we love about playing in India.

“It will be missed in the short term if it can’t happen, but I have no doubt it will be a great event even if it has to be played without crowds.”

Cummins’s outstanding 2019 was recognised on Wednesday when he was named one of the five cricketers of the year by Wisden.

“The first I heard about it was a couple of months ago,” he said.

“The award is held in high regard in Australia, I remember my dad and grandad talking about it.

“It caught me off guard to get it but I feel very honoured and privileged to win it. I had to keep it quiet, I hadn’t told anyone.”

‘The Rocky 4 movie!’ 

He was the pick of the Australian attack as they retained the Ashes taking 29 wickets in the five Test series which ended in a 2-2 draw.

“I have so many favourite moments from the Ashes series,” he said.

“There was a plan years in advance, I was in good form and fitness.

“To have a good series personally is great.

“It’s the one big event you really look forward to, and I’m proud to get through five Tests.”

Cummins, when asked to select his best memories of the series, shied away from personal achievements to the collective one.

“In terms of moments, the two wins -– the first win at Edgbaston, starting the first Test match with a win,” he said.

“Then obviously retaining the Ashes at Manchester late in day five would be another moment.”

As for how he and his team-mates keep fit during the hiatus, he said coach Justin Langer kept them on their toes.

“It’s weird because you spend every day with the boys and we haven’t seen anyone,” he said.

“We’ve been contacting each other via WhatsApp — (opener) David Warner is very vocal on his gym sessions, his house looks like the Rocky 4 movie!

“Justin Langer has been sending workout videos every day.

“Everyone’s been enjoying their time separately but keeping in touch.

“By the time we get back on tour we’ll be annoying each other in person rather than just over the phone.”