Ever since he was 12, Pat Cummins was terrorising kids with his raw pace in Western Sydney. A few years later, he was creating havoc for the likes of Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith in a Test match. Rarely, has a fast bowler in Australia come up the ranks as quickly as Cummins. But repeated stress fractures in his lower back confined him to the sidelines constantly for five years.
Cummins debuted in 50-over cricket in 2011 but only played in seven matches in the next four years. But all the rehab had toughened up his body and he was able to play a role in the 2015 World Cup triumph.
In the 48 matches he has played for Australia, Cummins has a healthy average of 26 and has taken 82 wickets. It will be his numbers in the past 12 months that will augur well for Australia. The tall paceman has taken 31 wickets from just 20 matches and his economy rate is below five.
Cummins is a hit-the-deck style of bowler that is capable of generating disconcerting bounce and seam movement from even benign surfaces. He is expected to be first change bowler and could also be given the role at the death.
The slow nature of the English pitches might not suit his style of bowling, but such is his craftiness, he is more than capable of adapting. Add to that, he has been a master at the cross seam delivery and uses the bouncer diligently. Cummins is the complete package and his form in India on unhelpful pitches was a sight to marvel.
Cummins might have been the back-up bowler in 2015 World Cup, but there is no doubt, a lot hinges on his broad shoulders in 2019. He has had the luxury of resting for the past month and will be raring to go at the once the tournament commences in the last week of May.
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A lot of cricketers have had changed priorities since the advent of private T20 leagues but Cummins is a chip off the old block who, like India skipper Virat Kohli, values the Test format.
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