Cum­mins pumped up to un­leash pace

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - ROBERT CRADDOCK

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.”

QUICK IN­SPI­RA­TION: Pat Cum­mins ( main) and hero pace­man Mitchell John­son ( in­set).

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