There once was a time where the Ashes had us on the edge of our seats, a nail-biting affair that saw countries divided over one small urn and its contains. From the glory years of Freddie Flintoff and Shane Warne, to Ricky Ponting and Graham Swan, the fierce rivalry between the teams has produced some of the greatest sporting moments to date. But in recent times, Australia’s dominance over England has become such a sure-bet that you can only feel for the England team and the bowlers forced to endure long overs out in the field, only to see the batting order collapse.
Still, the prowess of the Australian side has been hard to ignore and the 4-0 series win for the hosts was evidence of just that. In the final match of the series, Australia managed to take 10 wickets from England for just 56 runs in the space of 22.4 overs. Such a thing would be an embarrassment (and surely is for a number of the English batsmen), but you also have to hand it to the likes of Scott Boland who has quickly become a national treasure for his incredible bowling performance during the series.
With Australia defending a target of 271, they brought a fierce energy to the pitch that was certainly led by Pat Cummins. It seems though, that even off the field, Cummins is a natural-born leader and the post-Ashes celebrations enjoyed by the team have gone viral due to one classy gesture from the captain himself.
As Cummins and teammates took to the podium in celebration with champagne bottles in hand, Usman Khawaja ducked off to the side because drinking alcohol is against his religion. Noting his absence, the Aussie skipper stopped the others from popping the corks, gesturing to keep the bubbly on ice while he called Khawaja back over so he could participate fully in the celebrations.
Footage of the moment Cummins waved Khawaja back over has since gone viral, with fans and sporting heroes alike commenting their respect and admiration for Cummins. Golf writer Ben Everill tweeted, “Huge shout out for Cummins gesture 2 stop the champagne to get Khawaja back in celebrations! That’s an Aussie skipper right there. I’m sure the boys have had plenty since but he ensured inclusiveness.”
Speaking about Australia’s performance in the Ashes and the year ahead, Cummins is proud of the team but believes it still needs to test itself in all conditions and against all countries. “These were quite foreign conditions to what we normally expect in Australia,” he said following the Hobart Test. “It was a green seaming wicket but I think the way Marnus (Labuschagne), Travis Head and Cam Green took on the game was a really good template for any conditions that are foreign to what we might expect.”
He added, “We can be the type of team that is brave enough to take that positivity overseas if we need to. I think that puts us in a great place.”
Australia now heads to Pakistan in March and April for three Test matches, followed by three ODIs and a T20 clash. A trip to Sri Lanka and India are also scheduled for 2022.