Wed, 08 Feb 2023

Perth [Australia], November 29 (ANI): Australian skipper Pat Cummins said that his side is extremely excited about the opportunity they will be receiving in the next few months to play some of the best teams in the world in their Test summer, that could also give them an opportunity to play the final of the ICC World Test Championship in England.

Australia will kick off its two-Test series against West Indies in Perth on Wednesday. In their Test summer, they will play 15 Tests against teams like West Indies, South Africa, India and England.

"I think it is such an exciting opportunity for our group, to play four of the biggest series you are ever going to play as an Aussie Test cricketer within six or seven months, that is a once a career opportunity," Cummins was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"That is all ahead of us, that is exciting. Obviously, a home summer is always big, with a World Test Championship, that is something big to play for. We get a few wins here it pretty much guarantees our spot in London. We have all come here fresh. We know it is a big block of cricket and we are excited for it," he added.

Australia missed out on a spot in the previous final as they lost points due to slow over-rates. Cummins admitted to the media ahead of the first nine Test matches leading up to the 2023 WTC final, that his side could not realise what they missed out that time.

"I think being new, it probably did not hit us until the game was actually played and you saw over there New Zealand did well (NZ won the previous WTC by beating India in the final) and you wish you were there," said Cummins.

"So it feels like second time around it has got a little bit more on it. It felt like a big missed opportunity that first one. So it certainly gives a bit more context to every series now, something big to play for," he added.

Cummins feels that while the series against India and England are big battles, the usual two-three Test match series with other teams gets a much global context and it is something extra for Australia to play for.

Cummins and his teammates have started talking about the significance of the next eight months of Test cricket as a lot of players are heading toward the end of their careers in the longer format.

The majority of the Aussie Test side, like David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith, who have been the spine of their team for a decade are in their 30s, with Lyon, Warner and Khawaja in their late 30s. Alex Carey and Marcus Harris are also 30-plus and Cummins will be turning 30 next year.

Recently, Warner hinted that the next year could be his final in Tests. Even Khawaja admitted that the team would head into a transition phase sooner than later. Cummins hoped that it would be later but confirmed it was on the horizon.

"In the next six or seven months we have got 15 Test matches, hopefully, there would not be any turnover before that but of course, it is coming," Cummins said.

"To be honest it is the most stable team I have played in ever. You could probably have picked the side 12 months ago. I feel like we are in a good spot."Aussies would not like any slip-ups happen again with some of their legends aiming to end their careers on high. Anything less than five Test wins at home against West Indies and South Africa could leave them vulnerable and cause them to miss out on the final once again. The value of home triumphs increases given the fact that India will host them in February and March. Aussies have only won one out of 14 Tests in India since their 2004 series win.

Even West Indies are undefeated in Tests this year and South Africa sits at second position in the WTC table despite losing series to England. Australia are aware of the opportunity and fans would expect them to give it all to take it. (ANI)

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