Australia in South Africa 2011-12 October 18, 2011

Cummins will have mixed emotions - McDermott

25

Craig McDermott, Australia's bowling coach, will hark back to his teenage tearaway past to guide Pat Cummins as he presses for a place in the Test team on the tour of South Africa. McDermott made his debut for Australia in the 1984 Boxing Day Test against the West Indies at the age of 19, entering the team at a time when confidence was low and results poor. He made a strong start against Clive Lloyd's tourists and followed it up on the 1985 Ashes tour, before enduring a few spells out of the team. Those good and bad days are now McDermott's resource as he helps Cummins and the rest of the Australian attack plan for the three ODIs and two Tests in South Africa.

"It'll be interesting to see how he [Cummins] develops in the one-day series in South Africa after bowling well in the T20s," McDermott told ESPNcricinfo. "It'll be up to the selectors who they pick for our Test attack, but when we've got three or four blokes who can now bowl 140kph plus, it's a big plus for us, and we've still got James Pattinson sitting at home in Australia who has bowled well as well."

McDermott said the empathy he felt for young fast bowlers had been useful, and noted the example of the work he had done with Pattinson as well as Cummins. In Sri Lanka, Pattinson spent a great deal of time honing his skills despite never being quite close enough to selection in the Test XI.

"I think it's been very helpful, particularly with young guys like James Pattinson," McDermott said. "Throughout the Sri Lanka tour he trained his backside off day in, day out and didn't really play much cricket. He's come to South Africa and bowled very well in the T20s and is unlucky to not stay on for the Tests.

"Pat Cummins has come in as an 18-year-old, so there are a lot of emotions he's going through. He's had some good experiences through the Champions League T20, and now we've just got to make sure that we bring these guys through and nurture them while getting them hard for Test and one-day cricket."

Simon Katich was the first captain to enjoy having Cummins at his disposal in first-class cricket, in three Sheffield Shield matches at the end of last summer. Katich described Cummins as "an absolute dream" for any captain, as a young bowler with rich gifts and a level head to know how to use them.

"For a kid who is only 18 years of age, he has an amazing brain on him already," Katich said. "Control-wise he knows what he's trying to do, so from a captaincy point of view it wasn't hard to captain him.

"He can bowl good pace, he can swing it both ways, and he's just a good young kid, so he's got a lot going for him. We are going to miss having him around, but we knew that once he hit his straps and got opportunities we probably weren't going to see him too much."

Cummins is blessed with the ideal, wiry physique for bowling at high speed, and Katich felt he did not need to put on much more size at all in order to be fully developed.

"I don't think he has to get much bigger. You only need to look at someone like Brett Lee; he was never huge over his career, he was strong but he didn't have to get that bulky," Katich said. "Pat's the same, he's quite lean and wiry but he's still able to bowl at 150kph. He's obviously got a young body but he's done a reasonable pre-season with us, so hopefully that'll hold him in good stead.

"He's still got a long way to go and no doubt he will admit that, but he's a quick learner, he's got a lot of natural skill, and he's got a good head on his shoulders. He's very mature for his age and he's a smart lad, so I think he'll be more than capable when he gets his opportunity, if he keeps learning the way he has."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • brisCricFan on October 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    All those Usi supporters would be further disgruntled to hear he has made a fighting century today in the Shield match... at least he is getting some long form cricket under his belt...

  • Meety on October 19, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    @Biggus/Matt re: North - sorry I can't say the same about him. He had played a lot of cricket by the time he got selected for Oz, & was very average in FC cricket, not a shade on D Hussey. I would actually consider him more as an ODI batting allrounder - sort of like what Smith is NOT doing now!

  • on October 19, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    I feel bad for Usman Khawaja.. He replaced Ponting and batted at number 6 and Shaun Marsh played at number 3. Usie dint get enough opportunities and when Punter was back in the team at number 3, Usie was out and Marshy retained his place in the team!! :(

  • Matt. on October 19, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Indeed @Biggus it is disappointing. I don't dislike any of these players I like to have a moan about, I do wish they would perform. But when they don't perform and there is other talent standing in line...move aside

  • brisCricFan on October 19, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    I know that I am a large fan of MJ and can be a bit biased but people hound him about his lack of consistency but bowling is very much a partnership thing... I think MJ has felt huge pressure to carry the attack and has lacked the backup in the past to remove that feeling. With Harris and Pattinson and to a lesser extent Watson, some of that is changing and I think we might see more of the 'free-er' Johnson in the upcoming series... But bear in mind, Johnson came onto the scene young and with a lot of expectations... Do we want to repeat the same mistakes blooding this young guy too early?

  • Biggus on October 19, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    @Matt-I was really disappointed that Marcus North didn't make the grade consistently at the top level. I felt that he had so much to offer, but them's the breaks.

  • Matt. on October 19, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Amen @Biggus, I endured the same thing with Marcus North. Every time the axe was raised he scored a century, then all was forgiven for another 6 months. Frustrating as hell. I'm sure Mitch's time will come, it's just that we don't have time to waste. After Mitch I'm gunning for Haddin

  • Jaqen_Hghar on October 19, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Cummins looks like a great prospect and I hope he has a long and successful career. I just wonder whether he wouldn't be better off coming home and playing 4-day cricket. Right now Cummins is missing bowling 40+ overs in a tough Sheffield Shield game so he can can bowl 8 overs in 2 games of hit & giggle. Surely bowling in match conditions serves these young guys better than bowling in the nets. This of course would be a moot point if they actually select him to play in the tests.

  • on October 18, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    If he bowls well he might be able to replace Johnson as attack leader forcing Johnson back into shield cricket to find some consistency. Harris, Siddle and Copeland make a great support cast but there still is no consistent bowling spearhead!

  • Biggus on October 18, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    @Meety@Matt-I reckon you're both right, I don't think the selectors will drop MJ since he had such a good run against the Saffers last time. I'm rather concerned that he'll have a good test and we'll be stuck with his erratic bowling for another year, and I'm losing enough of my hair already without pulling out more in frustration.

  • brisCricFan on October 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    All those Usi supporters would be further disgruntled to hear he has made a fighting century today in the Shield match... at least he is getting some long form cricket under his belt...

  • Meety on October 19, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    @Biggus/Matt re: North - sorry I can't say the same about him. He had played a lot of cricket by the time he got selected for Oz, & was very average in FC cricket, not a shade on D Hussey. I would actually consider him more as an ODI batting allrounder - sort of like what Smith is NOT doing now!

  • on October 19, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    I feel bad for Usman Khawaja.. He replaced Ponting and batted at number 6 and Shaun Marsh played at number 3. Usie dint get enough opportunities and when Punter was back in the team at number 3, Usie was out and Marshy retained his place in the team!! :(

  • Matt. on October 19, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Indeed @Biggus it is disappointing. I don't dislike any of these players I like to have a moan about, I do wish they would perform. But when they don't perform and there is other talent standing in line...move aside

  • brisCricFan on October 19, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    I know that I am a large fan of MJ and can be a bit biased but people hound him about his lack of consistency but bowling is very much a partnership thing... I think MJ has felt huge pressure to carry the attack and has lacked the backup in the past to remove that feeling. With Harris and Pattinson and to a lesser extent Watson, some of that is changing and I think we might see more of the 'free-er' Johnson in the upcoming series... But bear in mind, Johnson came onto the scene young and with a lot of expectations... Do we want to repeat the same mistakes blooding this young guy too early?

  • Biggus on October 19, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    @Matt-I was really disappointed that Marcus North didn't make the grade consistently at the top level. I felt that he had so much to offer, but them's the breaks.

  • Matt. on October 19, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Amen @Biggus, I endured the same thing with Marcus North. Every time the axe was raised he scored a century, then all was forgiven for another 6 months. Frustrating as hell. I'm sure Mitch's time will come, it's just that we don't have time to waste. After Mitch I'm gunning for Haddin

  • Jaqen_Hghar on October 19, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Cummins looks like a great prospect and I hope he has a long and successful career. I just wonder whether he wouldn't be better off coming home and playing 4-day cricket. Right now Cummins is missing bowling 40+ overs in a tough Sheffield Shield game so he can can bowl 8 overs in 2 games of hit & giggle. Surely bowling in match conditions serves these young guys better than bowling in the nets. This of course would be a moot point if they actually select him to play in the tests.

  • on October 18, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    If he bowls well he might be able to replace Johnson as attack leader forcing Johnson back into shield cricket to find some consistency. Harris, Siddle and Copeland make a great support cast but there still is no consistent bowling spearhead!

  • Biggus on October 18, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    @Meety@Matt-I reckon you're both right, I don't think the selectors will drop MJ since he had such a good run against the Saffers last time. I'm rather concerned that he'll have a good test and we'll be stuck with his erratic bowling for another year, and I'm losing enough of my hair already without pulling out more in frustration.

  • Meety on October 18, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    @Biggus - I'm just on that side of the fence too. I think that we (should), have Watto as pace cover too for the tests, so the Harris risk isn't as significant (IMO). Dunno if I'd drop MJ for the 1st Test or not though. The thing is last time we only played a spinner in the test we lost (I think - I'll have to check that).

  • bubbageil on October 18, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Getting named in the test squad is reward for some excellent form, and as Katich mentioned, he is a very mature 18 year old. But he will carry the drinks in the first test I would imagine. He will just soak up the experience which will make him hungrier to debut. But I would think Harris, Johnson and Siddle will be the 3 front liners for the first test. However, it wouldn't be a bad thing if he did debut. The euphoria won't get to him and he's certainly good enough.

  • Okasha on October 18, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    Let Warner play in all three forms...He is a good timer,hard hitter,good defensive batsman and his balance is so good...Normally,Hard hitters have't got the balance or defense but this man is amazing...he is a good player and Usman Khawaja is also a good player for ODI and Test matches..

  • on October 18, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    until i watched this year's season of the champions league,i did not even know who pat cummins was.but when i saw him play for new south wales,i realised that he is a very talented youngster who has a lot of pace and swing.he definitely should be a part of the aussie test squad.

  • Matt. on October 18, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Nice comment @Biggus, i completely agree with you. The same old bowling attack just hasn't been working. It's worth a shot with Johnson and Siddle waiting in the wings. However I just can't see the selectors replacing Johnson, he's protected from on high!

  • s.sreekant on October 18, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    then what n when should guys like butterworth , cutting,coulter nile( a bit early for him though) will play, only after their 30s .

    hope cummins does not become another tait

  • Beertjie on October 18, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    I'm as thrilled as anyone else to see Cummins' name in the frame, but please - let's have some perspective. He'd be better off taking in conditions in SAf, working at the nets like Pattinson did in Sril Lanka. Then let him play as much domestic cricket as he can and pick him (as the fourth quick) for the WACA test against India. That's the way to bring him on! Give him all the advantages they gave to Mitch, but treat him with care.

  • Biggus on October 18, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Well, I see there's been some strong opinions on this one but I'm quite happy to see him given a shot. He has a really nice run to the wicket and an easy action. I really quite like what I've seen of him and I'd be inclined to throw the dice a bit and go into the test with Harris, Cummins and Copeland plus a spinner. High risk taking in a new quick with another newbie and the fragile Harris admittedly, but I just feel it's worth a shot. After all we know what we'll get with Johnson or Siddle and whatever their merits it's time to sample another flavour I reckon. In the end I'm more interested in seeing some new blood in the team, especially the bowling attack, than worried about losing.

  • on October 18, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    What a find from nowhere. Has got all the ingredients height, speed, accuracy to become a top notch fast bowler. Only thing is his landing, need to watch his foot or may end up injury prone. I wonder he'll be bowling at 155 kmph when he is over 20 and much stronger. Being an Indian fan, I would love to see how the Indians play when they tour in December. Just can't wait.

  • Meety on October 18, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    @ VivGilchrist - fair comments! I wonder why so many knowledgable people from so many different angles are all pushing for him over other well credentialled performers like George? With respect to George - I think he was out of form towards the end of last season. That being said your point remains valid in regards McKay, Butterworth & Coulter-Nile, & (Bollinger?).

  • Dashgar on October 18, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Is Cummins even guaranteed a spot in the starting XI in the ODIs? I assumed he was only in the ODI squad for the experience, now they're talking about him like he's the attack leader. He should have been sent home straight after the T20 to play in the Shield match that is on now not hung around in SA.

  • jonesy2 on October 18, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    listen to simon katich people, he speaks with wisdom.

  • VivGilchrist on October 18, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    A joke. Peter George has taken 103 wickets @ 27 bowling half his games on Adalaide Oval pitches. He gets one Test, bowls well, takes the wicket of Tendulkar, and now a guy with 9 wickets @ 46 leapfrogs him... Argus review anyone? By the way, as I write this he has just taken his 5th wicket v NSW, including the wickets of Katich, Hughes, and Khawaja.

  • anver777 on October 18, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    A gifted bowler will serve Aus for a some time.....my best wishes !!!!

  • Meety on October 18, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Well as far as I'm concerned, I am leaning towards giving him a go at Test level. At the moment, people who are far more knowledgable than myself (no comment on Hilditch), are all singing the praises of the kid. If McDermott is backing him, of all the people quoted so far, he should know having been there & done that, I am getting more comfort!

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  • Meety on October 18, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Well as far as I'm concerned, I am leaning towards giving him a go at Test level. At the moment, people who are far more knowledgable than myself (no comment on Hilditch), are all singing the praises of the kid. If McDermott is backing him, of all the people quoted so far, he should know having been there & done that, I am getting more comfort!

  • anver777 on October 18, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    A gifted bowler will serve Aus for a some time.....my best wishes !!!!

  • VivGilchrist on October 18, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    A joke. Peter George has taken 103 wickets @ 27 bowling half his games on Adalaide Oval pitches. He gets one Test, bowls well, takes the wicket of Tendulkar, and now a guy with 9 wickets @ 46 leapfrogs him... Argus review anyone? By the way, as I write this he has just taken his 5th wicket v NSW, including the wickets of Katich, Hughes, and Khawaja.

  • jonesy2 on October 18, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    listen to simon katich people, he speaks with wisdom.

  • Dashgar on October 18, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Is Cummins even guaranteed a spot in the starting XI in the ODIs? I assumed he was only in the ODI squad for the experience, now they're talking about him like he's the attack leader. He should have been sent home straight after the T20 to play in the Shield match that is on now not hung around in SA.

  • Meety on October 18, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    @ VivGilchrist - fair comments! I wonder why so many knowledgable people from so many different angles are all pushing for him over other well credentialled performers like George? With respect to George - I think he was out of form towards the end of last season. That being said your point remains valid in regards McKay, Butterworth & Coulter-Nile, & (Bollinger?).

  • on October 18, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    What a find from nowhere. Has got all the ingredients height, speed, accuracy to become a top notch fast bowler. Only thing is his landing, need to watch his foot or may end up injury prone. I wonder he'll be bowling at 155 kmph when he is over 20 and much stronger. Being an Indian fan, I would love to see how the Indians play when they tour in December. Just can't wait.

  • Biggus on October 18, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Well, I see there's been some strong opinions on this one but I'm quite happy to see him given a shot. He has a really nice run to the wicket and an easy action. I really quite like what I've seen of him and I'd be inclined to throw the dice a bit and go into the test with Harris, Cummins and Copeland plus a spinner. High risk taking in a new quick with another newbie and the fragile Harris admittedly, but I just feel it's worth a shot. After all we know what we'll get with Johnson or Siddle and whatever their merits it's time to sample another flavour I reckon. In the end I'm more interested in seeing some new blood in the team, especially the bowling attack, than worried about losing.

  • Beertjie on October 18, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    I'm as thrilled as anyone else to see Cummins' name in the frame, but please - let's have some perspective. He'd be better off taking in conditions in SAf, working at the nets like Pattinson did in Sril Lanka. Then let him play as much domestic cricket as he can and pick him (as the fourth quick) for the WACA test against India. That's the way to bring him on! Give him all the advantages they gave to Mitch, but treat him with care.

  • s.sreekant on October 18, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    then what n when should guys like butterworth , cutting,coulter nile( a bit early for him though) will play, only after their 30s .

    hope cummins does not become another tait