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Australia coaching staff Andy Flower inspects the pitch during a practice session ahead of the Cricket World Cup final against India in Ahmedabad. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Australian team had sent such shock waves across the world that fans are still searching for answers on what went wrong with the Indian team in the 50-over World Cup final at Ahmedabad on November 19.

Australian captain Pat Cummins, on the eve of the final, had told a press conference that his team are ready to silence the 130,000 spectators in the stadium who will be rooting for the hosts. The pacer managed to do it with ease and assistant coach Andy Flower said those words were uttered after a meticulous preparation and provided an insight into what went behind the scenes ahead of the final.

Andy Flower at Abu Dhabi T10

“The first thing that is worth mentioning about Australia winning the final is that Cummins made a brave decision to field first. Through the tournament, Australia were playing very well when they batted first, so I think to change that tactic in the final was very brave from the Aussie skipper. But he did that with some excellent assistance from primarily the head coach Andrew McDonald, who is very meticulous in his examination of the conditions,” the former Zimbabwe captain said and explained the process.

Decision spot on

“Some of the stats that backup the conditions, but also with his communication with various people in trying to understand the conditions at play, and anticipating forward through the game. Actually, a day before the final, McDonald articulated to me and a couple of the other coaches, a sort of prediction of what would happen if Australia bowled first and he was absolutely spot on. So a lot of kudos to him and his team of advisers, but also to Cummins for making that decision.”

A recap of the final would showed that the hosts India entered the final after a 10-match winning run and also had beaten Australia in opener in Chennai. However, after winning the toss, Cummins and fellow pacers pegged back the famed Indian batting to reduce them to 239 in 50 overs on a slow, low-bounce wicket. But when Australia batted, the dew had ensured that the wicket played perfect, leaving India high and dry in the final hurdle to win by six wickets.

Travis Head celebrates his century against India in the World Cup final. Image Credit: Reuters

Head repays team's faith

Opener Travis Head scored a century to become the third Australian to achieve the mark in a World Cup final. The left-hander was recovering from a fracture and still the team persisted with him and Head repaid their faith in both the semi-finals and the final.

“The Australian seamers got better and better through the tournament. I thought Cummings was excellent through the tournament actually as a bowler. He did the basics really well when he was on pace, but he also bought some very effective slower balls, off-cutters, which was difficult to see with his fast arm action. So he did that very effectively the whole way through the tournament, and no one really got hold of him when he was doing it. So it was very important he could do that throughout the tournament and the final was the same,” added the famous international coach, who is part of the Delhi Bulls think-tank in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, which began today at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

What is more important is that Australia were able to win their sixth World Cup crown with just one specialist spinner on the Indian pitches that will provide a lot of turn. However, all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Head towards the latter half played his roles to perfection as additional spinners.

“MacDonald, Cummings and George Bailey, the head selector were quite brave and took a bit of a gamble only going in with Zampa as the only specialist spinner. Maxwell is a very good operator so he shouldn’t be underestimated as an off-spinner. Waiting for Head to get fit is another brave decision from Australian think tank and the gamble paid off. His off-spin was also quite useful just for a couple of overs to take pressure off someone else later in the innings,” added the 55-year-old.

Lack of patience

The recent One-Day International World Cup showed that some of the batters lacked the patience to rotate the batting during the middle overs. And one of the reasons for them going on an attacking mode is attributed to the shortest formats, like T20 and T10. However, Flower, who has played both the longer and shorter formats, feels that T20 and T10 have made ODI cricket more entertaining.

“It’s improved 50-over cricket and made it more entertaining. It’s a more attacking game now. The power game and the innovation game from a batting perspective have definitely transferred into the 50-over game and you see some of these big scores that are becoming quite the norm, because they are becoming the norm, you do find some teams getting into trouble through that aggression. I think, it’s still a positive outcome for cricket and it’s wonderful to watch both batting and bowling and some of the innovations that have originated through these shorter forms,” he concluded.