Australia in South Africa 2011-12

Australia to manage Cummins' workload

Brydon Coverdale in Johannesburg

November 22, 2011

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Pat Cummins dives to complete his maiden Test catch, of AB de Villiers, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 1st day, November 17, 2011
Michael Clarke on Pat Cummins: "He's as good an athlete in the field as we've had come into this team for a while." © Getty Images
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Australia will need to manage the workload of their young fast bowler Pat Cummins, according to the captain Michael Clarke. Cummins was Man of the Match in his first Test thanks to his seven wickets at the Wanderers, where he also struck the winning runs in a display that was more mature than most people expected of an 18-year-old.

Fans are excited about seeing Cummins play at home, but with six Tests coming up this summer - two against New Zealand and four against India - it will be a heavy burden on Cummins if he is to play all of Australia's matches. Apart from the Tests, Australia will play two Twenty20s against India in January, and up to 11 one-day internationals in the tri-series with India and Sri Lanka.

Cummins is contracted to Cricket Australia but he could also have state commitments with New South Wales when time permits. This time last year he had not yet played for his state, and Australia will need to ensure they do not ask too much of Cummins in his first year of full-time cricket.

"We've got to be smart," Clarke said. "I don't think it's possible for Paddy right now to play all forms of the game for Australia. To play every single game I think would be silly. That's only my opinion. We need to speak to the selectors and we need to make a plan for him, because he's got a bright future. He's got the potential to be an amazing cricketer for Australia, and we have to be smart and make sure we look after him."

In Johannebsurg, Cummins was Australia's best bowler and took 6 for 79 in the second innings, his swing, pace and aggression turning the match in Australia's favour when South Africa could have shut them out. He was also calm when he came to the crease with Australia needing 18 runs to win with two wickets in hand; he hit 13 of them, including a four off Imran Tahir to seal the result.

"He's an amazing talent," Clarke said. "He's shown that in the shorter forms of the game. He's shown that throughout this Test. The one thing that continues to impress me is not just his bowling. I've made it very clear to him that I think he's a very good batsman, with a lot of talent. He just needs to continue to work hard with that. He's as good an athlete in the field as we've had come into this team for a while."

While Cummins was the standout, his bag of wickets only highlighted the lack of victims claimed by the more senior fast bowlers, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle. Cummins will surely be the first bowler selected for the opening Test against New Zealand at the Gabba, starting on December 1, but Clarke said it was not a concern that Australia had relied so heavily on a teenage debutant in Johannesburg.

"I couldn't be happier, I don't care who gets the wickets," Clarke said. "I said that in Sri Lanka, Michael Hussey can get ten-for, I don't care who gets the wickets. I just want 20 wickets and I want to get more runs than the opposition. It was Paddy's day. First Test in Brisbane could be Peter Siddle's day or Mitchell Johnson's day."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 25, 2011, 13:44 GMT)

Australia Cricket is in dire straits due to their poor decision making. Here is another example of stupidity. When McGrath debuted at a similar stage (less than 10 first class games) do you think ppl were talking about wrapping him in cotton wool? No, they said play and perform. This is not Pat Cummins fault - it is management. And clearly CA is intent on not ratifying any of the recommendations by former BHPB chairman Don Argus, who's scathing report on CA only highlighted how backwards CA management is; and still are. Good luck CA, just when I was looking forward to a summer of excitement (after yrs of misery and frustration) you go ahead and ruin it by saying something stupid like "let's wrap him in cotton wool." Sing it out loud.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

Hope this LITTLE GEM will not read any articles/comments on him to pressurize himself.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 24, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

There would be nothing worse than another young fast bowler breaking down and losing pace and never being the same! The story is all to familiar around the world and with the modern pressures to play all games everywhere, its not a surprise. I think Clarks thinking is spot on and others need to adopt this. You cant have fast bowlers running in day in day out in all forms of cricket all year round - it simply is not feasible. They need to be managed to ensure a lenghty career with minimum injuries. With all the advance made in cricket from equipment to mental strenght, the fitness of the fast bowlers is something that hasnt succeeded and needs attention.

Posted by bobagorof on (November 24, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

@disco_bob: "Mitch plays better when there's another bowler doing some damage". More like - Mitch's flaws are glossed over when there's another bowler doing the damage. It's always easier for a bowler if someone is up the other end doing your job for you. Mitch has been the strike bowler, and should have been the one doing the damage.

Posted by bobagorof on (November 24, 2011, 3:13 GMT)

@MinusZero: Ponting used Watson sparingly, but Ponting also lost the Ashes (three times). Clarke decided to use all the resources available to him (including Watson and part-time bowlers, who never got a look-in under Ponting) and Australia's fortunes have improved. I suppose you'd blame Clarke for Harris' injury too?

Posted by bobagorof on (November 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT)

Srinath Venkateswaran: It's so he isn't run into the ground. Australia wants him to be playing for a long, long time. At the moment they're concerned that he'll lose his pace or get injured if he is asked to bowl 60 overs a match in 6 Tests in a short space of time, plus the ODIs and Twenty20s, when he hasn't even had a full season on domestic cricket to build up his fitness. He's already had lower back soreness a few months ago, so they want to make sure he has ample recovery time and is not overloaded.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 23, 2011, 16:30 GMT)

I would like to add that in 54 England won the Ashes. Australia won the Brisbane Test but were just blown away in the other Test matches by Frank Tyson, who Richie Benaud said was the fastest bowler he had ever seen. And as someone said,he was not the brainless quickie who made faces and used abusive language like we have come to see these days. He was an educated man who could recite poetry when he felt the need to. Lest people wonder what, I clarify that it was indeed Wordsworth and Shakespeare.Frank, is probably in his 90s now. He settled down in Australia after a teaching career. When Tyson landed in Australia for the Ashes in 54, he was virtually an unknown.When he took just 1 wicket in the first Test at the Gabba, people just smiled sympathetically. Then the Typhoon struck and the whole of Australia and later the world saw that there were fast bowlers from other countries as well. So there could be other stars of the future on view come Boxing day.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 23, 2011, 15:00 GMT)

Cummins is a rare find and Australia are lucky to have discovered such a fine fast bowler. I am waiting for the India Australia matches. Apart from Ishant there will be the recent acquisitions for India, Umesh Yadav,Varun Aaron and Ashwin for Australia to contend with. There will also be Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan if fit . So while Australia do have a formidable pace attack, the comment makers would do well to remember that in the past, the Indian batting of old veterans handled the likes of Magrath. Gillepie,Lee, Fleming Kasprovich and Warne reasonably well. So it could just be another masterclass from these extraordinary gentlemen which the youngsters of today both in Australia and India could talk about to their generation.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 23, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

@Gupta.Ankur, "You never see such treatment for upcoming players from asian teams...." Sure you do, this sort of hype goes with any teenage prodigy in all sports what about Ishant Sharma as a like for like example?

Cummins could very well be the strike partner that Mitch needs to break out of his slump. Mitch plays better when there's another bowler doing some damage, which seems to bring out his batting. I see Mitch's improved batting display in the last test as a hopeful sign. Mitch needs one last opportunity to bowl with Cummins against NZ and if he can come out of his hole he should be given a go against India.

Posted by   on (November 23, 2011, 6:09 GMT)

Cummins made his debut...bowled exceedingly the MOM...But why are Aussies talking about managing his workload already??? He is young...Let him play and get the experience...He has played only 1 test...this is most ridiculous...

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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