Pat Cummins ‘comfortable’ with Jonny Bairstow stumping and would do same again
Pat Cummins was unrepentant about the controversial dismissal of Jonny Bairstow as the Australia captain insisted he would act in identical fashion if presented with a repeat scenario.
Australia moved 2-0 ahead in the Ashes at Lord’s but a 43-run win was overshadowed by Alex Carey throwing down the stumps of Bairstow, who had stepped out of his crease thinking the ball was dead.
The rancour has mushroomed to the extent the Prime Ministers of England and Australia have had their say, with some of the fallout extending to Cummins and whether he could have withdrawn the appeal.
Whether Cummins acted within the oft-quoted ‘spirit of cricket’ has been repeatedly scrutinised – while the spectre of ‘sandpapergate’ five years on from the Cape Town scandal still hangs over Australia.
Asked if he is concerned his integrity has been called into question, Cummins said: “It doesn’t really bother me. I think the way our team have conducted themselves over the last couple of years has been flawless.
“There’s issues that come up every Ashes series where you have the same opinions – English fans think one thing, Australian fans think the opposite.
“I 100 per cent think the spirit of cricket is a real thing. At times there’s nuance to it, and everyone might see it a little bit differently. Which is fine, that’s part of it.
“But absolutely I think it’s one of the beauties of our sport. I think our players were outstanding in that regard. We’ve all moved on. The team did nothing wrong so we’re all comfortable.”
Cummins tersely replied “yep” when asked if he would act the same way if a similar situation unfolded after England head coach Brendon McCullum suggested Australia would come to regret their actions.
When McCullum’s words were put to Cummins, the fast bowler responded: “You’ll have to ask me in the future. At the moment I’m really comfortable with it. Maybe down the track.”
Cummins, who stopped short of revealing his final XI but announced Todd Murphy will replace injured off-spinner Nathan Lyon for the third Test at Headingley starting on Thursday, and his side were barracked by the Lord’s crowd throughout the final day following the Bairstow stumping.
There were unsavoury scenes in the Long Room after several MCC members appeared to confront Australia’s players as they made their way off the field at the lunch interval, prompting security to step in.
It has been reported that Steve Smith’s mother, who is English, left the ground early amid the hostile atmosphere, and Yorkshire have confirmed they are on security alert this week amid escalating tensions.
Cummins said: “We’re in our partner period here so we’ve got loads of family and kids around. I think there might be an extra eye on them, where they are in the crowd, just to make sure everything’s fine.”
Steve Smith is set for his 100th Test appearance for Australia, who can this week guarantee a first series win in England since 2001.
They return to a venue where Ben Stokes salvaged one of England’s most remarkable victories in recent times.
Cummins admitted there have been constant reminders of his wide half-tracker that was dispatched for four by his now opposite number which sealed a scarcely-credible one-wicket win for England in 2019.
Cummins added: “I remember at the time thinking, if I hang it outside off there might be a chance to nick it.
“I’ve seen it about 1,000 times in the last four years. It was a fantastic Test match and the first two in this series have been fantastic.
“I’m sure that memory will be brought up quite a bit, just like 2005 was brought up at Edgbaston, but we’ve well and truly moved past that.”