Australia in India 2016-17 March 11, 2017

Cummins called up to replace Starc

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Play 01:39
'Lot more consistent now' - Cummins

Australia's intent to fight the Border-Gavaskar series to the finish has been made clear by the calculated gamble of selecting Pat Cummins to replace the injured Mitchell Starc for the last two Tests in India.

Most of the focus on Cummins has been about ensuring he is fit to be considered for next summer's home Ashes series, but a head-turning display for New South Wales on his Sheffield Shield return at the SCG this week has encouraged Trevor Hohns' selection panel to call-up the fast man ahead of that more conservative schedule. Provided he acclimatises quickly he is every chance of being slotted straight into the team for the third Test in Ranchi.

Starc had picked up a stress fracture in his right foot during the second Test in Bengaluru, and his exit has opened a path for Cummins to return to the Test squad for the first time since his memorable debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011.

That week Cummins bowled with high pace and precision to earn man of the match honours at the age of 18, also striking the winning runs to help the Australians secure a tense, two-wicket victory over the Proteas to level the series. He has returned older and wiser but once more at a juncture of high significance for the national team.

Cummins took eight wickets on his return to Sheffield Shield this week, nearly six years after his last first-class appearance in the 2011 Sheffield Shield final. Figures of 4 for 57 and 4 for 47 in the Blues' eight-wicket win over South Australia helped convince the newly reappointed selection panel that his ability to make an impact with speed and movement made him the ideal substitute for the explosive Starc.

Play 00:51
Quic Facts - Cummins back after missing 64 Tests

"In selecting Pat, we were looking for a strike bowling replacement option," Hohns said. "Pat has impressed in his return to cricket this summer with consistent performances in his ODI, Twenty20 International and Big Bash matches. He has also had a very good Sheffield Shield return for New South Wales, after six years off, where he made a notable Shield best 4-57 in the first innings, before bettering those figures in the second innings with 4-47 in his man-of-the-match performance."

A raft of foot, side and back injuries in the wake of the 2011 Wanderers Test match caused Cricket Australia to take a longer view of Cummins, holding him out of Sheffield Shield and Test cricket while making use of him in the ODI and Twenty20 teams. His only first-class matches between 2011 and this year were for Australia A.

Late last year, Australia's captain Steven Smith was quizzed on whether it was feasible that he could be working with Cummins during the India Tests. While saying such a scenario was "possible", Smith reserved judgment by saying "he's obviously got to play some Shield cricket first and see how he goes". One Shield match, and an unexpected chance to push India all the way on the current tour, have turned possibility into reality.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • b.misl9017082 on March 14, 2017, 0:28 GMT

    I'm a massive Pat Cummins fan but this is a risky move after one FC match. Sure he took 8 wickets in first game back but he was also playing against my mighty red backs from Adelaide who's batting line up has one player averaging more than 40 at first class level which is Darren Lehmans son. Their batting is as reliable as bucket full of holes. I really hope his body can hold it together but 5 day cricket for quicks places so much stress on the body and he's been playing T20's ODI's and one 4 day match, this is like comparing a sprint to a marathon, sure they're both running but so so different.

    As for Stoinis...really? Australian selectors really??? The guy is averaging 15 with the bat and 40+ with the ball this summer. Switch those stats around and we have a legend in the making.

    All the best Cummngs I'd love to see you year in year out shaking the worlds best batters up, but I just don't think your time is now in this test. I hope I'm wrong.

  • Mrcriccanada on March 13, 2017, 17:13 GMT

    @ELECTRIC_LOCO_WAP4_IS_DELUDED ON MARCH 13, 2017, 7:27 GMT They are talking about the pitches in Pune and Bangalore. Now to your point, had India given those kind of "sporting" (btw, you call them roads in aussie) wickets to Australia, the score line would have been Aus-Ind 2-0.

  • Heramb on March 13, 2017, 15:35 GMT

    @MERVO India-Australia Tests have made for the most riveting compelling cricket rivalry over the past 2 decades since the inception of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the one off Delhi Test on Australia's 1996-97 tour of India.Over this period,both teams have won 17 Tests each & despite SA's stellar record of completing a hat trick of Test series wins in Australia,their failure to win a home Test series against the Aussies for a quarter century diminishes the enormity of their away achievements.Australia have won a Test series in India 2-1 while India are yet to win a Test series Down Under.But the 1-1 drawn series in OZ in 2003-04 that featured a dramatic India win in Adelaide after the hosts notched up 556 in the 1st innings will remain forever etched in memory as will India stopping the Aussie juggernaut of 16 consecutive Test wins by becoming the 1st Asian side to win a Test in Perth in 2007-08 against OZ featuring Ponting,Hussey,Clarke,Gilchrist,Lee,Johnson, Clark,Symonds & Tait.

  • Heramb on March 13, 2017, 13:57 GMT

    @FIRST_DROP India has won 5 ICC tournaments to be joint second with WI among teams successful in ICC events with Australia leading with 7 titles(5 WC + 2 CT) that strangely does not include a T20 WC over the past decade since the tournament was launched in SA in 2007.Besides a maiden WC title in England in 1983,India has won 2 CT including a joint title with SL in SL in 2002 and another CT title beating hosts England in 2013

  • Merv on March 13, 2017, 10:07 GMT

    @ HDG1978 True. I guess the ICC make the calls on which pitches are sub-standard for Tests. Australia has never had such a call, but it could be one day, who knows? Let's hope there are no hijinks by officials with the pitch for the 3rd test in this current series. The game is more important.

  • Heramb on March 13, 2017, 8:48 GMT

    @INCOGNITO_BROWN After 4 failures in 2 Tests,Kohli too is due for a big one.Would be happy if Smith fails in both the remaining 2 Tests.Australia began its 4 Test series in India in 2012-13 with a ton from its captain Clarke in Chennai just as their current captain Smith scored a ton albeit in a rare Test victory for Australia on Indian soil in Pune. Clarke's 130 in Chennai were negated by MSD's Test best of 224 together with 107 from Kohli & 81 from Tendulkar rescuing India from 12/2 after Australia logged 380 in its 1st innings.Hope this series takes the same route and India ends up 3-1 series victors by Dharamsala with a couple of tons from Kohli to answer the harshest of his critics.India would do well to pick Vijay ahead of Mukund for Ranchi while an Aussie XI with Cummins for the injured Starc & Maxwell for the injured Mitch Marsh would mean a stronger opposition XI for India to contend with and beat at a new venue.All the best Team India.Looking forward to a Steve Smith failure.

  • David on March 13, 2017, 8:48 GMT

    Firstly, I pray Smith doesn't over bowl Cummins. Two, Lyons needs a break even if he plays in the last test. Thirdly, Smith & Warner need to bowl lots more overs on these wickets because as Kohli said, anyone can get lucky on these pitches and remember Michael Clarke once took 6/7 in India. I would take in Agar & Maxwell to replace Marsh and Lyon. You then have 4 different spinners and an extra batsman (well 2 when you consider M Marsh's contributions) Bowl Cummins & Hazelwood in 4-5 over bursts only. And have fun out there. And the best way to win. Do not speak to the Indian players for the entire 2-5 days the match lasts. Have fun with the crowds and spoil them. Congratulate every good score or bowling effort, basically act like NZ for these next 2 Tests. Maybe, we will get the same type of wickets that NZ & England received, but it may be better if we keep getting these ones as it increases our chances exponentially to win one of the two tests. Good luck to both teams.

  • Heramb on March 13, 2017, 8:28 GMT

    Do agree with you MERVO that India does not need sub-standard pitches for it to succeed.But did not regard the Bangalore pitch as diabolical/poor/ unplayable as some fans suggest.Otherwise there would have been no Marsh-Renshaw or Pujara-Rahane partnerships on that pitch & wickets would have continued to fall unabated.Am of the view that pitches excessively aiding seam or swing bowling like those on offer during India's 2002-03 tour of NZ or unusually high bounce should also be rated as poor & not just pitches providing excess turn or spin to the slower bowlers.Did not recollect any pitch investigation for a 3 day Test between OZ-SA in Hobart where pace bowlers(Philander,Abbott & Hazlewood) had batsmen for lunch,breakfast & dinner on a pitch excessively helping seam bowling.Also felt that the ICC should have investigated the pitch of the Jo'burg 3 day Test between SA-SL in January where 2 rookie pacers(Parnell & debutante Olivier) blew SL away inside 3 days in pace-friendly conditions.

  • Rahul on March 13, 2017, 7:27 GMT

    MERVO: But India made normal pitches for NZ and Eng.

  • Jo on March 13, 2017, 7:06 GMT

    @HDG1978 couldnt disagree about your comment that substandard pitches in India make for riverting viewing. When so much hinges on the toss on these wickets we may as well finish the game with toss and make test cricket a glorified two-up game. Also, the roads that talk about are our pitches for better or worse. There is no vetting or pitch options for your captain that happen in India. Its simply not sporting. I would hope that as India "grow" into the world power that you are and will be, more sporting pitches will be offered to touring teams in the future... I can only hope.

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