Pat Cummins has said he would blame his own batter if an Australian was dismissed in the same fashion as Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s, declaring anyone who has ever played cricket knows the England man was out.
The Bairstow stumping has dominated public discourse in England for the past three days, with the hosts continuing their complaints through the build up to Thursday’s start of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
It has prompted the biggest diplomatic schism between the two nations on a cricket field since the Bodyline series of the early 1930s, with both prime ministers becoming involved in the war of words.
Cummins and wicketkeeper Alex Carey have borne the brunt of the criticism, with Australia’s captain under attack for not withdrawing his appeal at Lord’s as well as accusations of breaching ‘the spirit of cricket’.
But Cummins is adamant he cannot understand what all the fuss is about, after Bairstow was dismissed after wandering out of his crease.
Pat Cummins said he was left surprised by the furore surrounding Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal
Bairstow (middle) was controversially dismissed on Day 5 of the second Test at Lord’s
Alex Carey spotted Bairstow out of his crease at the end of the over and hit the stumps
‘Everyone that has played cricket and knows cricket, you just see that as out, end of story,’ Cummins said.
‘I don’t think there’s any discussion. It’s out.
‘A conversation about the spirit of cricket doesn’t even come into a dismissal like that. It was, plain and simple, a stumping.
‘If the shoe was on the other foot, I wouldn’t be looking at the opposition, I’d probably be thinking about our own batter and thinking it’s pretty silly.’
The fallout from the Lord’s drama has largely overshadowed the fact England are 2-0 down in the series, with Australia able to win their first Ashes in the country in 22 years with victory at Headingley.
The hosts’ heralded fearless approach has failed in the Ashes, opening the door for Australia in both Tests.
It is not out of the question the hosts are attempting to use the Bairstow stumping to create a sideshow.
‘I know what our team does and that’s we concentrate on, ourselves,’ Cummins said.
Ben Stokes (left) suggested Australia had not behaved according to the spirit of the game, but Cummins (right) was unrepentant despite the controversy
‘When we haven’t been playing up to scratch we look pretty deeply at what we are doing and try to make amends.
‘We don’t apportion blame to conditions, or opposition, or anything else going on.
‘I’ve got no idea [if England are deliberately deflecting attention] but I’m really proud of how our boys have conducted themselves on this tour, especially on that Day Five.
‘The way they maintained respect for the opposition, the umpires, the crowd. Their dignity was first class.’
Australia are bracing for blowback from England fans at Headingley, with investigations continuing into the abuse the team received during lunch at Lord’s on Sunday.
The Leeds ground is renowned for being the most aggressive in the country even in normal circumstances, with England’s Joe Root on Tuesday calling for supporters to remain positive.
The Aussie captain said his players are not concerned by the hostile reception awaiting them at Headingley for the third Test, which starts on Thursday
Cummins doubts Root’s plea will have much effect.
‘I’m expecting the crowd to be pretty hostile but that’d be the case no matter what happened,’ Australia’s captain said.
‘People pay for their tickets. They can turn up, and whilst I hope I would never go to a sporting event and try to abuse players, some people do.
‘I’m sure it’ll be a pretty fiery week from the crowd, but we’re on the field. The crowd really doesn’t affect what we’re trying to do.’