Cummins pumped up to unleash pace
PAT Cummins craves to create Mitchell Johnsontype havoc in the Ashes as Australia plots to use him in a Johnson sort of way.
Cummins, 24, is a figure of major intrigue in his first home Test against England at the Gabba next week, six years after he ransacked South Africa on his Test debut in Johannesburg.
It was estimated more than 20 players and officials connected with English cricket lost their jobs after Johnson’s 37 wicket rampage on the last Ashes tour here four years ago in a performance which shook the cricket world.
“I would love to be that bowler, along with Starcy who can run in and bowl in short spells flat out as fast as we can,” Cummins said in Brisbane yesterday.
“That’s a role I would like to play.”
And that is likely to be his precise role, used just as Johnson was in short, volcanic spells which radiate pure fire.
If Cummins had a sense of optimism about the summer it is because recent Test tours of India and particularly the sauna- like Bangladesh gave him the belief that, for all of his multiple injury setbacks, he had the mettle to prosper under the game’s most testing conditions.
“Certainly coming through Bangladesh with the heat and everything I thought ‘ it cannot get much harder than this’. Hearing Nathan Lyon and a few of the guys saying that was the toughest days of cricket they have played gave me a lot of confidence.”
Australia remarkably played the same three fast bowlers – Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle – four years ago but it will surprise if this summer sees a repeat. Cummins can give no guarantees he will play all five Tests.
“I have no idea. I have never done it before, I have only played back- to- back Tests. I feel as if I am in the best position I can be but we will have to wait and see. There are no guarantees.”
Cummins could well become the strike force that decides the series but he is not expecting to be handed the new ball.
“I don’t think so. We have Starcy and Josh Hazlewood. Being out there will be enough for me. I will be pumped.
“The two other big boys have obviously played a lot of cricket the last couple of seasons.
“It has been great watching them and just being around them I feel I have learnt a lot about what it takes to be playing international cricket full time.”
The other area in which Johnson is an inspiration for Cummins is his ability to have a long and prosperous career after a wretched early run with injuries.
“I know Mitchell and Brett Lee were similar. They missed a lot of cricket early in their careers. It probably gave me a little bit of confidence and a little bit of patience. Now, I’m at the stage where I don’t have to worry about it.
“The last few years I’d play a couple of games and I got sore or didn’t really feel quite up to first- class cricket. “Whereas here, it feels like I play a game and all I have to think about is the next game coming up.”