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News

Pat Cummins won't ask for rest 'unless I've got something going wrong'

That said, the senior paceman doesn't expect Australia to play the same four-man attack all summer

Alex Malcolm
17-Nov-2021
Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins feels he is as fresh as he has ever felt coming into a Test series, but says he would be surprised if the side persists with the same four-man attack through all five Ashes Tests, something they did against India last summer.
Cummins returned to Australia and into hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast on Tuesday with the majority of the triumphant World Cup-winning squad to begin their Ashes preparation.
He hasn't played a first-class match since February. Cummins has also only featured in seven T20s since April having opted out of the limited-overs tours to the Caribbean and Bangladesh during Australia's winter. He also missed the second half of the IPL prior to the World Cup to be home for the birth of his son.
Australia will only have one three-day intra-squad match to prepare for the first Ashes Test starting December 8 but Cummins has no concerns about his personal preparation.
"My body feels as good as it has in a couple of years. There's no niggles," Cummins said. "I think the first, I guess, benefit of the short spells is we're all feeling really fresh. I always feel like it's better to be underdone than overdone coming into a big Test series.
"For now it's just trying to work back from that day one, get a few good bowls in, I think. We've got access to quite a few centre wickets. So we'll have three, four, five centre wickets where we try and have relatively big days, you know, bowl a couple of spells on those days. And we'll be ready to go. And we had a similar prep last year and all felt really good going into that Adelaide first Test."
Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc played all four Tests against India last year, but the plan backfired as the trio tired on the final days in Sydney and Brisbane and were unable to bowl out India in either game as the visitors produced a famous come-from-behind series win.
Australia rotated their bowlers heavily in the 2019 Ashes series using Peter Siddle and James Pattinson as specialists in those conditions. Cummins was the only one of the five Australian fast bowlers used in that series to play all five Tests and he expects that there will be some rotation again this summer.
"When someone's I guess rested it is normally more to it than just purely workload," Cummins said. "There's always niggles and small little injuries that we're dealing with, basically after every single Test match.
"The great thing is we've got a huge stable of fast bowlers. So yeah, I don't think it'll be a huge issue if someone's not able to get up for a Test or someone's just red-lining a little bit. Someone else can slot in.
"I'd be surprised if the same four bowlers were used for all five Tests. That's pretty rare, especially the five-Test match summer. But I certainly won't be putting my hand up to be rested unless I've got something going wrong."
Jhye Richardson is firming as a certainty to play a part in this Ashes series having not played a Test match since 2019 when he dislocated his shoulder in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup and Ashes tour.
Michael Neser has also been a constant presence in Australia's Test squads in recent years and could also make his Test debut this summer despite coming off a hamstring injury.
"I think both can slot in really well," Cummins said. "It might be like-for-like maybe in some regards. I'd say probably Jhye, especially last week, I only saw a little bit but apparently, he bowled beautifully up here at the Gabba.
"It's really great to see him back around the squad. He was on the verge of a World Cup and an Ashes series a couple of years ago before having a shoulder injury, so it's great to see him get back and bowling well, fully fit, and hopefully he kind of starts off where he left off against Sri Lanka a few years ago."
Chairman of selectors George Bailey confirmed Australia would have a squad mentality after announcing the 15-man Ashes squad for the first two Tests as well as an Australia A squad on Wednesday. Bailey was also impressed by Richardson's form leading into the Ashes series following his Player of the Match performance for Western Australia against Queensland at the Gabba last week where he took eight wickets including 5 for 23 from 22.2 overs in the second innings.
"Getting pretty excited by Jhye," Bailey said. "One physically, I think he looks as strong as I've seen ever seen him.
"He's had a couple of niggles, and he's worked his way back from those so he's starting to build some resilience into his body, still a young body.
"I think he's worked his way into the last three shield games quite nicely, but one particular spell I think it was the morning of day [three], a really impressive spell early on, I think he ended up ended up getting the wickets of Marnus [Labuschagne] and Joe Burns, who both commented that it was it was impressive quality."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo