“For what I think is a pretty common non-event, it does seem like everyone has a pretty strong opinion about it,” Cummins said. “I don’t think there’s any discussion; it’s out. 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 would be thinking it’s pretty silly.”
England will have to become just the second side ever to come from 0-2 down if they are to regain the Ashes. Asked whether their reaction to the Bairstow dismissal has been a way to deflect from defeats, Cummins was not drawn directly into it, but added how impressed he was with how his team had handled the situation – from the immediate moment and the confrontations in the Long Room, to the 48 hours since, where the players themselves have said nothing unless asked.
“I know what our team does, and that’s [why] we concentrate on ourselves,” he said. “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’m really proud of how our boys have conducted themselves [on] this tour, especially on that day five. [I] thought the way they maintained respect for the opposition, the umpires [and] the crowd, their dignity was first-class.”
“I think Ben spoke very well on it at the end of the game. As a team, we want to play our cricket a certain way and want to leave a certain legacy,” Root said. “As a player, you want to play the game as how you want to play it. It was within the rules; it was technically out. If you’re happy with that, then fine. If not, I don’t think you can [criticise] other people that play the game slightly differently.”
Cummins, for his part, doubted his view would change. “Maybe ask me in years to come,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t think a conversation about the spirit of cricket even comes into a dismissal like that. It was plain and simple a stumping.”
“People pay for their tickets, they can turn up… whilst I hope that I would never go to a sporting event and try to abuse players, [which] some people do,” Cummins said. “I’m sure it’ll be a pretty fiery week from the crowd. But again, we’re on the field. I think in Australia, we’re as guilty as anyone a lot of the time. So I think it’s reality, to be honest.
“If you’re going to play professional sport, unfortunately, that’s one of the things that you’re going to have to deal with. It’s nothing new. I think you could talk about [it] till the cows come home, but I doubt it’s going to make much of a difference.”
“I’ve got no problems at all with Baz. I know how much he loves a beer, so that was surprising. Maybe we just see this one differently”
Pat Cummins on Brendon McCullum saying he wouldn’t want to share a beer after the controversial stumping
Root, meanwhile, called on the fans who come to the Test to simply “support” England, but appeared to caution against things going too far.
“I think that’s the most important thing – that you come in to support your nation. [It] doesn’t need to go beyond that,” he said. “It shouldn’t ever go beyond that. Everyone should be here to enjoy the cricket on the field. And, you know, that’s what it should be about, and shouldn’t be about anything other than that.”
“I’ve got no problems at all with Baz,” Cummins said, having himself worked with McCullum in the IPL. “I know how much he loves a beer, so that was surprising. Maybe we just see this one differently, which is totally fine.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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