ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Aussies inspired by Gallipoli visit
Pat Cummins details visiting sacred site before attention turns to World Cup
Louis Cameron in London
17 May 2019, 03:20 PM AEST
Inspired by their emotional pilgrimage to one of the most significant sites in Australia's history, Aaron Finch's men believe they're uniquely prepared for what shapes as the most demanding eight weeks of many of their careers.
The World Cup squad touched down in London this week following a four-day stopover in Turkey to visit the storied Gallipoli peninsula, where 11,000 Australian and New Zealander soldiers perished in a disastrous Allied military offensive.
Donning casual get-up including baseball caps and compression pants rather than the regular team uniform, Australia's 15-man squad plus support staff retraced the footsteps of their countrymen from more than a century ago.
It was a rare extended sojourn from professional routine, and a fair logistical feat given the proximity to their June 1 World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol. Their visit is the first by an Australian cricket team since Steve Waugh's side made the trip ahead of the 2001 Ashes.
Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa laid a wreath at the Lone Pine Memorial, with its yellow and peach flowers hugged by a white ribbon emblazoned with the words, 'Lille to Lord's' – a theme of Justin Langer's short tenure as coach.
Members of the squad for last year's one-day tour of the United Kingdom (of which only seven remain for the World Cup) visited sites on WWI's Western Front in France and Belgium where thousands of Australians also died, with Lille their first stop.
They hope Lord's – and the World Cup Final on July 14 – will be the final stop on the one-day side's journey.
"Just before we left, we laid a wreath and recited the ode and just had a minute's silence," vice-captain Cummins said from Turkey this week. "Just had a really special moment.
"One I'll remember for the rest of my life.
"Just spending time together in a place like this, you can't help but learn something about yourself, about your teammates.
"Just learning about the ANZAC spirit – the fight, the mateship, just the incredible values they held here in 1915."
Careful not to draw a comparison between the ordeals the Anzacs faced and the rigours of international cricket, Cummins nevertheless said the experience had helped "set a pretty good framework for how we want to conduct ourselves" in the coming weeks.
The July 14 final at Lord's, and a sixth 50-over crown, are the lofty goals Australia are daring to dream about.
In the four years since they lifted the trophy at the MCG following a triumphant campaign on their home patch, Australia have gone from world champions, to ODI basket case, and then seemingly back to prominence once again.
The returns of stars Steve Smith and David Warner are sure to provoke hostility from their boisterous British hosts, but Cummins says the team bonding on the trip to Turkey will solidify their spirit.
"When you hear some of the stories (of Australians fighting at Gallipoli), a lot of them aren't necessarily best mates, but you know they've got each other's back when the going gets tough," Cummins said.
"Just sticking it out, punching above their weight, doing all those things – no doubt there's going to be times during the World Cup when we're going to be up against it."
Their voyage over rocky sand and through blooming red poppies appeared a boon for team chemistry, but Cummins said the tournament that's "been in our diaries for years" has dominated discussion.
"It feels so close. I just can't wait," said Cummins.
"Now it's here, we're just excited to get out there, train, play a couple of warm-up games. It's only a couple of weeks away so we're all pumped, it's all we talk about, the games.
"We can't wait to get it started."
After a two-day blowout in London, Australia hit the training track at the regular base south of London this weekend before the first of three warm-up games – two official ICC practice matches, one unofficial – at Southampton's Ageas Bowl on Wednesday against the West Indies.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 22: (warm-up) Australia v West Indies, Southampton
May 25: (warm-up) England v Australia, Southampton
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's