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News

Cummins targets early role for Green after quiet West Indies series

The allrounder offers Australia the priceless balance that South Africa are searching for

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
16-Dec-2022
Pat Cummins has indicated a greater bowling workload for Cameron Green against South Africa and the allrounder may be given an opportunity to get into the attack early.
Green largely had a bit-part role to play against West Indies, bowling 29 overs across the two Tests, despite Cummins not being available for half the Perth Test due to injury, and only being required to bat in Adelaide. While there were no workload restrictions on him with the ball Cummins did reveal there had been an effort not to overload him after he was managed for a hamstring niggle in the ODIs against England.
The Gabba was the venue where Green opened his account as a Test bowler against England last season having gone through his first series against India without a wicket. He bounced out Ollie Pope in the first innings before claiming Joe Root with a lifting outswinger on the fourth day.
"Somewhere like here I'll probably rotate the bowlers around to get him a shot with a swinging ball," Cummins said. "He bowled beautifully here last year, got the big wicket of Joe Root. Coming into the [West Indies] series he wasn't under any restrictions but he's still coming off a hamstring injury. We don't really want to burn him in the first couple of games. So any overs he kind of didn't bowl in the first two tests hopefully means he can bowl a few more here."
Green went through the rare experience of not being needed with the bat in Perth - having been used to heavily promote the Test in his home city - when Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith feasted themselves with double centuries. He was then unconvincing when he finally got to the crease in Adelaide with Australia 428 for 4, scratching around for 9 off 42 balls then falling in search of quick runs in the second innings.
In last season's Ashes, Green made a slow start with the bat as he worked through some technical issues before making half-centuries in Sydney and Hobart. Although he has had a quiet start to the season he offers Australia the priceless balance that is one of the advantages they have over South Africa.
It allows the home side to naturally play a five-pronged attack whereas South Africa, who are expected to go with a similar make-up, are asking a lot of the inexperienced Marco Jansen to fill an allrounder's role at No. 7. However, captain Dean Elgar was confident he would be the long-term solution.
"He's someone who has really won us Test matches in the past with the bat, I refer back to Lord's [against England] where he put in a massive performance," Elgar said. "He's still so raw when it comes to Test cricket and it's pretty exciting for us. His talent is huge. If he does everything well reckon he's going to be an allrounder for the next 10 years for us."
For Australia, David Warner is the only other member of the top order whose form is under the microscope with a Test average of 28.12 over the last two years. Tours to India and England loom next year, both where Warner has an underwhelming record, and a lean series against South Africa would increase the scrutiny.
"His record is amazing here in Australia," Cummins said. "He's a huge part of our team. Opening the batting's not easy so I'm backing him for big series. He's hitting the ball beautifully. It's only two weeks ago he got a 100 [against England] at the MCG. A different format, obviously, but it was a tough wicket so he's looking good. I'm sure runs will follow."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo