SYDNEY: Pat Cummins is uncertain whether his body can handle the demands of five Ashes Tests but the young paceman hopes to emulate Mitchell Johnson and become an Australian wrecking ball against England’s batting lineup. Cummins had to wait six years between his first and second Tests due to a rash of injuries and has only played two Tests in succession twice, in India in March and on the recent tour to Bangladesh. Johnson also had to come back from a string of serious injuries to regain his place in the Australian team before devastating England with 37 wickets during the 5-0 whitewash in 2013/14.
Johnson’s experience gives 24-year-old Cummins hope that he can also make a big impact in the series starting in Brisbane next week. “We saw what Mitchell Johnson did last Ashes series here – it would be a role I would love to play,” Cummins told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday. “Having those five or six years (on sidelines) … I think it will mean a bit more when I go out there. It probably gave me a little bit of confidence and a little bit of patience (seeing Johnson’s comeback). I feel like I’m in the best position I can be, but we’ll have to wait and see – there’s no guarantees.”
Cummins burst onto the world stage with a seven-wicket haul against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011 as an 18-year-old prodigy but only managed to play his second Test against India in Ranchi in March this year. There was a succession of lower back stress injuries in-between and he has been eased back slowly into the longer format. Capable of bowling at express pace, he will vie with leading seamer Mitchell Starc to be the chief aggressor against England, with the slower Josh Hazlewood complementing the pair with line and length. With his five Tests all played on away pitches, Cummins is relishing the prospect of battling ‘the old enemy’ in front of home fans.
Published in Daily Times, November 15th 2017.