Cummins’ path from prodigy to captain

It started with a bang as Australia’s baby-faced iceman and seemed to risk ending up with a whimper due to recurring injuries.

But Pat Cummins is now officially the face of Australian men’s cricket as a test captain, a nod to years of wear and tear, tremendous leadership and a fantastic result with the ball.

Jokes and memes about Cummins becoming prime minister only started in 2018-19, when he stood up to India in Australia’s emergency summer, when Steve Smith and David Warner sought remission of sins from the sidelines.

“How good is Pat Cummins,” Scott Morrison beamed at this summer’s meeting and greeting players at Kirribilli.

Morrison’s rhetorical slogans can often be difficult to put into context or analyze too deeply.

But in this case, there is a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data that underscores the class on-field and off-field of the one-time-in-generation bowler mentored by Dennis Lillee.

Cummins are really good at taking wickets.

The right armor celebrated its 100th test scalp in its 21st test; not since Charlie ‘The Terror’ Turner terrorized England in the late 1890s has an Australian fast bowler reached that milestone so quickly.

The world’s top-ranked bowler is so often the one who swings momentum or sets the tone for Australia, with his unplayable delivery that disrupted Joe Roots’ outing at Old Trafford in 2019, perhaps the most obvious example.

Cummins is really good at playing a lot of cricket.

Paceman was out of the game in 64 Tests after an unforgettable debut at the age of 18, but has since played 33 of 35 possible.

Such a robust race is remarkable considering the 28-year-old’s history, but also simply the physical demands of his craft; Tired pacemen often end a summer with cricket about five or six kilos lighter, injuries are inevitable.

Cummins are really good at keeping calm.

The speedster showed this when he made headlines around the world against a star-studded South Africa in 2011, where he collected a baggy green, the new ball, seven wickets and man-of-the-match honors in Johannesburg after hitting the winners ran in a dramatic competition.

The 28-year-old is unyielding on the pitch, proof that you can show aggression without being cock-headed or suffering from white-line fever.

Cummins are really good at nurturing.

The superstar offered private support to disgraced teammates after the sandpaper scandal and was among the first to send a strong public statement, telling the AAP how it was “really hard to see some of the things written about them by people who do not know them” .

He has been the director of the players’ association’s board since 2019, and he has long been one of the strongest and most eloquent voices on a number of issues in the sport.

Cummins is really good at acknowledging that a world exists outside of the cricket bubble, a beast that is probably sometimes more isolated and gilded than that of Canberra.

He is an active part of The Cool Down movement, which calls on Australia to reach net zero before 2050 and take genuine climate action, citing Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu as formative in his views on racism and indigenous issues.

Michael Slater memorably accused Morrison of having “blood on his hands” regarding a coronavirus-related entry ban as Australians involved in the IPL waited to return home.

Cummins, understandably eager to reunite with pregnant fiancé Becky, offered a more tactful bid, donating $ 50,000 to a UNICEF COVID-19 crisis appeal.

Such a perspective, instilled as a child at the foot of the Blue Mountains and then shaped during a stay in the Test Desert that lasted nearly six years, should keep Cummins in good shape as he seeks to repair an image tainted by the events that triggered Smith and Tim Paine’s tearful resignations.

The question, Cricket Australia (CA), which has confirmed Cummins’ rise to a powerful position, as John Howard famously described as the above-mentioned Prime Minister in the national pick order, struggled in recent days, is whether its highest paid player is really good at be captain.

Admittedly, there is limited evidence to draw on.

Cummins himself has been unsure in recent years whether he could break the mold as the first fast bowler to be captain since Ray Lindwall performed his duty to a test in 1956.

But faith grew steadily and Cricket NSW’s decision to give him the reins on the state’s one-day side earlier this year proved to be a turning point and a championship.

Neither party thought Cummins ‘crown moment as Australia’s 47th Test captain for men would come so quickly, but the hands-on experience and Blues’ one-day title showed it could work.

Marathon periods, long days in the field, a huge weight of public anticipation, a deputy who admitted in March that he would like to return to the captaincy, and tactical showdowns with Root, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will ensure this is a different beast.

But it’s clear why CA believes Cummins is the man for the job.

Give a Comment