Pat Cummins admits NSW captaincy has him more prepared for higher honours
Australian vice-captain Pat Cummins admits that his time as NSW captain has given him a new understanding and appreciation of what it takes to be a leader at a higher level.
Cummins led the Blues to a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Queensland at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday.
The result ensured that NSW finished on top of the table and booked their place in the Marsh Cup final at Bankstown Oval on Sunday, April 11.
Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania all have a chance of taking on the Blues in that match in just over a week's time.
Cummins again starred with the ball, taking 3/34 from his eight overs.
However, it was opener Daniel Hughes who was named player of the match for his sixth List A century for NSW, the most of any player.
Cummins is one of four NSW players along with Steve Smith, Moises Henriques and David Warner who are now preparing to depart to India for this year's IPL.
Despite not being able to play in the final, Cummins said he is certainly proud of what the team has been able to achieve with him in charge.
"To secure a home final, everything went to plan so far," Cummins told reporters post-match.
"Four from four and I thought the way everyone played today was exceptional.
"Some of them will be taking that form into the IPL, others will be taking it into the final."
The big talking point leading into this Marsh Cup campaign was Pat Cummins' elevation to captain of the NSW side.
With continued speculation surrounding who will replace Tim Paine as captain when he inevitably steps down from the role, many believe that Cummins' ascension from vice-captain to the role is the logical solution.
However, former Test captain Steve Smith this week again indicated that he is ready to return to the role.
Asked about his time as captain for NSW, Cummins admits it's a role that he has enjoyed but he understands it's a completely different scene than international cricket.
He also knows that it has helped give him some much-needed experience if he was to be named the Australian captain.
"I have really enjoyed it," Cummins said.
"It’s a bit more chilled out than international cricket.
"All these guys I know really well, I’ve played a lot of cricket with them and they’re all bloody experienced.
"So I just leave them to what they do and I haven’t had to do too much.
"I haven’t really done it (captain) since I was 15 or 16 years old so it was good to get a few games.
"It’s obviously a hell of a lot different to the Test job or even if a Shield job was to come up but I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been good."
One of the key things that Cummins has learned from his time in charge at NSW has been balancing his focus between bowling and what's best for the team.
On Wednesday, he had no hesitation handing the new ball to Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc before he came on as first-change.
But it's also allowed him to think a lot more about some of the tactics of the game, such as field placements, bowling changes and more.
"I think being more aware of how to take wickets," Cummins said on the key lessons he has learned from being captain.
"I think in one-day cricket you can move to a defensive mindset quicker when it’s a flat wicket and you don’t have too many options.
"Being captain and knowing you have to take wickets and being more aware of that, I’d say that’d be a big thing."