Cricket: Cumming philosophical about missing final

Craig Cumming
Craig Cumming
Otago skipper Craig Cumming would have loved to have played for Otago in the one-day final against Northern Districts in Hamilton on Saturday.

But on the other hand, he was happy to be part of New Zealand's two-wicket win in the first of the Chappell-Hadlee matches against Australia on Sunday, even though he carried the drinks.

Cumming was called into the national squad as cover for the injured Jesse Ryder late last week and was unable to play for Otago in the State Shield final.

In his absence the Volts' inexperience top order wilted under the pressure and Otago slumped to a 49-run loss.

Otago coach Mike Hesson was in no doubt Cumming would have made a difference, but the 33-year-old top order batsman was philosophical about missing the crucial match.

"It is the way it is," Cumming said. I would have loved to have played in the State Shield final but also I'd love to get an opportunity to play against Australia.

"Playing for your country is the ultimate and being involved [on Sunday] was still very special, even though I didn't play. It is the first time I've been part of a squad which as had a victory over Australia, so it was a special feeling."

A shoulder injury forced Ryder to return to New Zealand yesterday and Cumming will stay on with the tour party.

Reserve wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins will also remain with the squad at least until Tuesday, with Brendon McCullum still nursing a hip flexor injury.

Cumming has been in some of the best form of his career, scoring 421 runs at an average of 70.16 in the one-day tournament.

But he had to watch from the sidelines as New Zealand did its best to butcher a modest run chase.

Canterbury's Peter Fulton looked dreadfully out of nick and Wellington all-rounder Grant Elliott batted at No 5 and was not required at the bowling crease.

"It was probably the sensible decision," Cumming said of his omission from the XI.

"If I had played, it meant we'd be going in with less bowling options. So it was the right decision for the balance of the side.

"I've just got to train hard and hopefully, there might be an opportunity to get a crack."

Cumming said he was "gutted" for his Otago teammates when he learnt they had lost the final.

"I was hurting for them and hurting for myself, having been a big part of it [the one-day campaign]. But I was also proud of the guys.

"It was always going to be tough with a top order which was inexperienced. But to be in three finals in a row . . . was an effort to be proud of."

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