Australia landed a gut punch in its against-the-odds World Cup final triumph over India.
Then came swift uppercuts from David Warner and Adam Zampa.
« Well did you see that happening? We did, » Warner posted to X with a picture of the team celebrating under confetti.
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« Come on Australia. 0-2 and written off. »
Zampa dug in on Instagram, throwing up a picture of himself with the World Cup trophy with the caption: « Ya’ll wrote us off ».
Warner’s « 0-2 » mention was a nod to the Australians’ tournament-opening defeat to India in Chennai and their loss to South Africa in Lucknow.
Australia, who was already the most successful men’s side in 50-over World Cup history, appeared in grave danger of failing to advance to the semi-finals.
The going looked even more grim when Sri Lanka got off to a sublime start in Lucknow, Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera combining for 125 runs before the fall of the first wicket in Australia’s third match.
Crucially, the Australians fought back against Sri Lanka and snatched a five-wicket win. It marked the first of a near-flawless winning streak of nine games, culminating in victory in the final at the 130,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
As Pat Cummins and his men fumbled around in India early in the tournament, the nation’s men’s rugby team, the Wallabies, had just limped back to Australia after its historically disastrous World Cup campaign in France.
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Then-coach Eddie Jones and his troops were copping a blasting from all and sundry, and Cummins and company knew just as fierce an onslaught would be coming for them if they didn’t turn their tournament around.
« There’s a lot of people watching, which is great, » the skipper said of criticism after the win against Sri Lanka.
« It’s nothing new, but we know what we’re about as a squad, and outside noise doesn’t bother us too much. »
The Australians had been « written off », as Warner put it, well before the tournament began.
After Australia’s consecutive Test defeats to India in the first two matches of February’s tour of the cricket-crazed nation, a News Corp column unloaded on Cricket Australia, Cummins and the team, bashing on-field performances and the way things were off the field.
« These defeats prompt questions as to where Australian cricket’s head is at, » the column screamed.
The hit piece accused CA and Cummins of being « woke » and said they were « susceptible to political correctness ».
« They publicly acknowledged that the men’s cricket team had fallen behind in recognition and education about racial injustice. Who knew it was their role? » it read, before noting the team taking a knee and forming a barefoot circle.
« Such activism is being driven by players and endorsed by the governing body. »
The column also threw back to Cummins’ snubbing of major sponsor Alinta Energy due to his stance on the environment.
It then claimed that « standards and discipline » had slipped since the departure of Justin Langer, who was replaced as coach by the softer-edged Andrew McDonald, before dropping the term « propaganda » and even drawing a comparison to war.
« Despite their good intentions, CA’s political stance may have unintended consequences, » the column read.
« This may be especially so if performances on the field don’t improve.
« It is still early days, but it’s possible that cricket may yet fall victim to spin both on and off the field. »
Cummins and company have made a joke of the views expressed in the column since its publishing, defeating India in a Test in Indore, beating the Indians in the final of the World Test Championship in England, retaining the Ashes in the UK and securing a record-extending sixth World Cup title.
As the Australians soak up glory in India, their critics are sounding more like crickets.