India vs Australia 2017: Being A Part Of The Series Is Really Cool, Says Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins’ only Test appearance had come way back in 2011 when his seven-wicket haul helped Australia register a thrilling two-wicket win over South Africa at the Wanderers to level the two-match series 1-1. However, the promising pacer’s career has not turn out as expected by everyone after his sensational debut.
The 23-year-old has endured a miserable run of injuries since making his international debut. But he has shown signs of improvement this season. The injury-prone bowler, who has enjoyed an injury-free campaign this season, featured in all of Australia’s limited-overs games in addition to playing in the Big Bash League (BBL) and the Matador Cup before returning to Sheffield Shield after almost six years – and he made a mark straightaway. Playing his first Shield game in six years, he looked sharp throughout New South Wales’s impressive eight-wicket win over South Australia and took 8/104 to bag the Man of the Match award.
He was duly rewarded for his brilliant performance as he replaced the injured Mitchell Starc in the Australian squad for the last two Border-Gavaskar Tests. But just like many, the right-arm fast bowler is also quite surprised to have got a call from the selectors so soon.
“I knew I was on standby for the tour a couple of months ago but really I thought the bowlers weren’t going to bowl too many overs so hoped they weren’t going to be injured or anything like that,” Cummins said in Ranchi on Tuesday (March 14).
“So yeah, I hadn’t really thought about coming over at all.
“I think for a couple of months, I knew I was going to be (in with) a chance; I had to sort out visas and everything like that a couple of months ago,” he said. “So, I think it was always kind of part of a plan, along with playing a couple of Shield games. But I think over here they’re not great, bowler-friendly wickets for quicks, which actually means I won’t bowl too many overs. So from that point of view it was always going to be a plan that was pretty comfortable along with playing some Shield games,” he added.
Speaking about his much-anticipated return to Test cricket, he said:
“In some ways it does (feel like a second debut). To be honest, it’s not very fresh. It feels like so much has happened in those five or six years. But I think since that day this is easily the most prepared I have been for a Test match in terms of body, form and the length that I have been playing the last few months. So, in some ways it feels like my first game. But being part of the Aussie squad with ODIs and T20s, it is a pretty familiar surrounding.”
The bowler has repeatedly said this season he’s feeling fit but there are still a lot of apprehensions over his match readiness. His selection for the India tour was questioned by new South Wales’ bowling coach Geoff Lawson but Cummins feels he is good enough to play in the testing conditions of India.
“I was probably going to play the last game for NSW and hopefully the final which would have entailed a lot of overs,” he said.
“It’s no different, being over here or playing the Shield game. Having the last six months I’ve had, I am really comfortable. I felt like I tried to bowl with a bit more rhythm in the Shield game [against South Australia] than potentially what I have done in an ODI or something, where I run in and try to bowl as fast as I can every ball. So, I felt like I could bowl six or seven overs in a spell pretty easily and the pace felt like it was coming out pretty good,” he added.
He further said he was eyeing the Ashes series, which will be played Down Under later this year, as his comeback series.
“I’d set myself little steps of getting back into the one-day side, and from that hopefully getting back into the Test side,” he said.
“But I didn’t think it was going to happen this quickly. I’d always had an eye on the Ashes next year, just thinking that I had to play three or four Shield games to put my hand up for selection. It has certainly come a lot quicker, but I always thought I’d get back here.”
He also expressed his excitement over being a part of the fiercely-fought ongoing series. The series is currently locked 1-1 and both teams would be keen to take an unassailable lead when they resume their rivalry in Ranchi from Thursday ( March 16).
“Being at home for the first two Tests, I really appreciated how much passion is in this tour and how much Test cricket means. A big Indian tour like this can really identify a team and Steve Smith’s captaincy,” he noted.
“I’ve just been pumped watching it at home and to be over and potentially being part of the series is really cool.
“India is a tour that really brings the team and the squad together, it doesn’t feel like a tour where there are one or two stand-outs. Everyone in the eleven needs to contribute. Winning over here is just one of those things that can bring a team together. And bring them together for the next 10 years or so,” Cummins concluded.
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