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New cricket hero almost missed the World Cup

The core group have now won two ODI World Cups, the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup. In Test cricket the same group have retained the Ashes twice in England, marginally missing out on series wins in that country but having still held the urn for six years. A Test series victory in India remains the one blemish on their record.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team for the last few years,” Cummins said.

As for Head, it wasn’t just his extraordinary 137-run innings that broke more than 100,000 Indian fans’ hearts at the stadium in Ahmedabad and millions more watching the broadcast. There was also his game-changing catch to dismiss danger batsman Rohit Sharma, and a couple of miserly overs with the ball that completed one of the great individual performances.

“It’s a lot better than sitting on the couch at home, I’m very lucky that everything went well and that I was able to get back here and all support the boys showed me,” Head said of the possibility he could haved missed the tournament because of the injury.

Coach Andrew McDonald agonised over the decision to keep Head in the squad rather than call in a fit player, likely a second front-line spinner to help brave the Indian conditions.

“The next night (after Head’s injury) Ronnie (McDonald) came up to me. He’s like, ‘I haven’t slept all last night. I think we’re going to keep him’,” Cummins said.

“‘We’re going to take the risk. He might be right for the Netherlands (game) and then if we’re going to make the finals and we want to win the World Cup, I think he needs to be there for the finals’.

“It means you probably don’t have the second spinner in your squad, which is a risk, but obviously it paid off.

“I couldn’t be happier for Trav.”

Travis Head turned the World Cup final with a stunning catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma, then did the same with a stunning century. And let’s not forget that he top-scored for Australia in the semi-final and took two vital wickets. AP

If any moment turned the final Australia’s way, it had been in the field when Head sprinted 15 metres from point into the deep to cling on to a magnificent catch to dismiss Sharma after he’d just smashed Glenn Maxwell for a six and a four.

“Probably the unluckiest man in the world,” Head shrugged about the Indian captain.

“Couldn’t imagine getting a hundred – and couldn’t imagine holding on to that catch.”

With the bat, he went on to join Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist as the only three Australians to score a century in a World Cup final. “I’m definitely third on that list,” he said with typical modesty. “It’s a nice one to join.”

Ponting also saluted him. “A little bit unorthodox at times, you quite often see him against that new ball and think, ‘how on earth is he gonna get through this?’ but he does. He not only survives, he scores quickly, and scores big runs.

“And the stage doesn’t get any bigger than today. Australia three for 40, India all over him in front of 130,000 people.

“He had to change the way that he played, went from sixth gear back to second and established an amazing partnership with Marnus (Labuschagne) just when their team needed it the most.”