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Cummins eyes fourth day of Shield match

Daniel Brettig

October 30, 2012

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Pat Cummins celebrates Dale Steyn's wicket, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, November 20, 2011
Pat Cummins has not played a first-class match since his Test debut © AFP
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Pat Cummins expects to be parachuted in to the New South Wales Sheffield Shield team on the final day of what is shaping as a potentially fiery encounter with a Queensland side not entirely happy to be facing as many as 15 players against their 11 ahead of the first Test at the Gabba.

While Cummins has been left out of the New South Wales side for their Sheffield Shield match against Queensland, to start at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Friday, there is a chance the 19-year-old may be included as a substitute player for the last day of the match on Monday, with four of the Blues players due to join Australia's Test squad.

Returning home from a trophy-winning Twenty20 Champions League campaign with the Sydney Sixers, Cummins said he hoped to be able to take part in the final day of the match, his first involvement in a first-class fixture since his one and only Test match against South Africa in Johannesburg last year.

"We mapped it out three or four months ago so I knew what the process was going to be, I obviously want to be out there playing cricket and Shield cricket especially," Cummins said. "Hopefully, maybe I'll play on the fourth day of this game, depending on what the selectors do with the Aussie side and then hopefully after that get into the next Shield game.

"I have been playing T20 cricket for about two or three months and we mapped out a plan then and in between the games we knew we wouldn't be able to fit in enough overs to get right for Shield straight away, so it's probably building up for two or three weeks and then getting right for the shield game against Victoria at the SCG."

If NSW were bowling on the final day of the match, that would allow Cummins to ease his way back into Shield competition after spending the past two months playing Twenty20 cricket with Australia and the Sydney Sixers. Cummins, who has not played a first-class match for nearly a year, is expected to be considered for the third Test against South Africa in Perth, but only if his body and form holds up through Shield cricket in the meantime.

Queensland are unhappy that they do not know the identity of the replacement players they may face, the coach Darren Lehmann pointing out that the side may be stacked with batsmen or bowlers depending on the game scenario.

"It's certainly not fair," Lehmann said. "I'd like to know who the replacements are when we're playing a game. They could be bowling or chasing runs and end up picking all batters to replace their bowlers. So I'd like to know who they are replacing them with.

"If they don't replace them, or rather don't let us know who they are, then they can't replace them. It's first-class cricket."

New South Wales have named a squad featuring four members of Australia's Test squad - Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner and Mitchell Starc - and only two players who have not played for or toured with the Australians. Brad Haddin will keep the wicketkeeping gloves ahead of Peter Nevill, who has been named as a specialist batsman.

The Blues will be without Moises Henriques and Steven Smith, who will instead be part of the Australia A team to play South Africa in Sydney. For Cummins, the chance to play even a walk-on role in a first-class fixture is an enticing prospect after a year beset by injuries and countless T20 engagements.

"In the past 18 months [Johannesburg] was the only game of cricket I played with a red ball, so I am itching to get back with the red ball and trying to get it swinging around for more than two overs," Cummins said. "You want to play as much cricket as possible and it starts with the Shield and I haven't played Shield cricket for close to 18 months now so I am chomping at the bit to get out there.

"It's ok that it is mapped out three or four months in advance but it does hurt when you are sitting on the sidelines and you feel relatively fit and there are other people playing."

New South Wales squad David Warner, Shane Watson, Scott Henry, Nic Maddinson, Michael Clarke (capt), Peter Nevill, Brad Haddin (wk), Steve O'Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland, Josh Hazlewood, Doug Bollinger.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by bobagorof on (October 31, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

So, NSW go into the game with 11 players, 4 of them get selected for Australia, and they only have 7 left for the rest of the match? How is that fair? NSW didn't ask for the current scheduling, nor did they ask for their players to get picked (though others may disagree...). I can see Lehmann's point about stacking a side with batsmen for a Day 4 run chase, or bowlers to defend a total, but NSW is losing Starc and *potentially* replacing him with Cummins - like for like. They're also losing 3 top-order bats, who are high enough quality to keep others out of the side. Replacing players has precedent in Australia - I remember Greg Blewett being drafted in to the Aussie side years ago and being subbed in a match. Happens overseas, too. Of course, this could have been avoided if they scrapped the Twenty20 competition, but let's not mention that...

Posted by V-Man_ on (October 30, 2012, 23:34 GMT)

What an absolute joke. This is shield cricket not park cricket. NSW should only be allowed to replace batsman with batsman and bowlers with bowlers despite the match situation.

Posted by Meety on (October 30, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

@Peter Bowron - there have been quite a few instances over the years when a player is taken out of a Shield game for national purposes, & then replaced by another player who can bat & field. Pretty sure it has to be like for like. It is not strategic - it's from a State POV - for the greater good - i.e the National Team.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

I'm from NSW, and want my team to win, but this is crazy - you play the whole match or none. The best 11 available get chosen, not some replacement. Replacement for fielding when an injury occurs (and not for resting someone who just wants a breather) and that's it - you don't bat, bowl or field in a specialist position. If you don't like that, be fair to both sides, let them pick a team of 13-14 and have them rotate like football, but make it count both ways. If we can parachute someone in, so should Qld.

Posted by Simoc on (October 30, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

I have to agree with Lehmann. It's ridiculous to be able to replace players halfway through a first class match. Makes a nonsense of the game and competition; though NSW do need all the help they can get after last seasons wimp-out.

Posted by Meety on (October 30, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

@ thephill / RJHB - it's not desirable to have a talent like Cummins sitting out. That said - the recent research is there that going from T20 up to FC cricket is where the injuries are happenning. There is a belief that Starc is robust enough to handle this, Hazlewood had some Shield cricket in the legs earlier in the season (as did Bollinger). On top of that - who'd drop the workhorse in Copeland? I am happy for him to sit out or be subbed in late in the game, then see him be played in Shield & Futures Lague to get some overs into the legs. The risk at the moment is currently with Starc & Hazlewood. I am hoping they get thru ok.

Posted by RJHB on (October 30, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Not sure about this decision, surely he needs to start playing regular first class cricket and a whole lot less of this limited overs swill he's been overindulging in! Has everyone forgotten that apart from the test series against Sri Lanka, there is absolutely zero first class cricket in Australia from the end of November until almost the end of January, two very long months! In the middle of the season? Why? More limited overs rubbish of course! This is a disgraceful schedule, especially considering its back to back Ashes next year!

Posted by thephill on (October 30, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

Ridiculous. This is a guy we want to see get a few first class games under belt before he plays a test and then we rest him? Any reason he cant be playing in the 3 day game for Aus A against the SAFA's? Oh, that right Cricket Australia dont want to expose SA to any fast bowling before the test. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. "A" games should be about exposing young talent to international cricket, not trying to hinder the touring teams preparations. Incredibly short sighted from the CA. Its a world wide issue tho, we see the same thing going on in India with Englands tour game.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

i just hope that NSW will only be allowed to make like for like replacements in this game and not be able to stack their team with batsmen or bowlers for the final day depending on what they're doing

Posted by bobagorof on (October 30, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

jonesy2: looks like SOK will be batting at 7 even though they are resting Cummins. If he were to play, they'd have 7-11 of Starc, Cummins, Hazelwood, Copeland and Bollinger. That puts SOK at 6 and Watson opening, for 7 bowlers. Someone's going to be massively under-utilised, which raises the question as why you'd bother in the first place. As it is they have too many pacemen, and could well have Hazelwood as 12th man.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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