Is there anything that Pat Cummins
can't do? Okay, so he's yet to be offered the throne of Albania
, and we don't currently have evidence that he can jump from a stationary position to standing upright on the mantelpiece - but then CB Fry probably wouldn't have been that much use on the farm either
Let's look at the evidence. In the past month or so, Cummins has: led Australia to a famous Test series win
on their long-awaited return to Pakistan, where his ability to bowl 90mph reverse-swinging bombs transcended some of the most inhospitable surfaces this side of Mars; rocked up at the IPL and opened a can of whup-ass with the bat, smoking the joint-fastest fifty in the tournament's history
; and solved the climate emergency (okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration - but he is working on it
Of course, if you've got anything like the same corroded world view as the Light Roller, instinctively your first response is one of deep, deep suspicion. How did this chiselled blue-eyed boy, one of the world's leading fast bowlers and the rare Australia captain who wouldn't deliberately offend your grandma, not to mention a UNICEF ambassador, business degree graduate, sportsman with a statesman's mien, all-round good egg
- how did he come by all these gifts without doing something diabolical in return?
And that's when you realise. He absolutely must
have done something diabolical in return. Maybe that missing fingertip
wasn't just the result of a childhood accident - perfectly plausible cover story - but the initial down payment on Pat's Faustian pact.
The signs were there, of course, if only we could see past the winsome smile and immaculate length. Daniel Sams knows it - just look at his face after he was torched by Cummins
the other night; you can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half. Justin Langer, meanwhile, had to cop it sweet
during his whole contract wrangle with CA. And who was it that first posted a video of Alex Carey walking into a swimming pool
while in Pakistan? Yep, lovable Patty C.
(We're not suggesting he had anything to do with "Sandpapergate", by the way. That was clearly the work of a real evil genius. Or Cameron Bancroft.)
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." So said Charles Baudelaire, the 19th century French poet who had a good nose for something fishy going on - and he would doubtless have been right on the scent here. Basically, folks, it's important not to get seduced by the story. From now on, look at it this way: every gold-plated, spine-tingling, joy-sparking act of wonder that Cummins produces, on the cricket field or off - that's 100% incontrovertible evidence of his deal with Satan.
Let's take a moment to warm our hands at the dumpster fire that is English Test cricket. Lo and behold, turns out sacking the management (but not the captain) and binning your two greatest fast bowlers wasn't a recipe for succeeding in the Caribbean after all - though Joe Root did at least come up with a new spin on their latest series defeat, saying his team played "brilliant cricket"
. You might have felt you missed that, after two dull draws and a ten-wicket defeat, but perhaps Root was just displaying his full range of linguistic shot-making. After all, England's batting in Grenada
was dazzlingly, blindingly - you could say brilliantly - bad. "I think we've shown what we're capable of as a group," Root added, which was perhaps not so far from the truth.