Patrick Cummins – the replacement we deserve

Aron Roar Rookie

By Aron, Aron is a Roar Rookie

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    Pat Cummins is back in the Australian Test squad. (AAP Image/Dale Cumming)

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    Patrick Cummins is the relevant substitute for Mitchell Starc.

    Sure, the appropriate indicators tell a different story. He has the durability of a cruddy pair of boots. His figures over the past six years are virtually non-existent.

    For those other guys knocking the door down, his inclusion symbolises the fact that the door doesn’t exist, and knocking into the void makes no sound.

    But, in these times, he is the right choice.

    Nostalgia is a booming commodity and he is 2011 eternalised.

    1/38 came when the sky was a rich azure blue and the moonlight was so bright that no one needed torches.

    My door was unlocked, and visitors stopped by to watch as he took 6/79 the innings after. The only true crime people knew then was having too much fun!

    I remember stepping outside for a moment while he ripped through that strong South African XI. I could smell tangerine, orange zest and a hint of vanilla essence. I waved at potential friends, whose metabolism ran wild with optimism and diet pills.

    He was the face of it all. A vigorous fresh-faced tear away who contorted his wily limbs and finger-tipped the clouds with his dynamic leap. 145 kilometres with the ball on a string. The gleaming teeth and flowing black hair, a transmittable enthusiasm and an impertinent ruthlessness.

    Pure joy.

    And then too much of himself tore away. His body creaked and withered. He became the looming ghost of the Australian cricket team. The guy who threatened to threaten. The ever-familiar ‘and we still have x waiting in the wings.’

    If success is measured by the amount of people you employ, Patrick Cummins was immortalised in his absence. Briefly, he changed the way we monitored cricketers. He was a recruitment strategy for sports scientists and convalescent specialists. A prime example of administrative mismanagement. The justification for a questionable rotation policy.

    Pat Cummins Cricket 2017

    Meanwhile, a blue sky became grey. The moonlight dulled and disappeared. Strangers stole my pencils and we substituted sadness for refined sugar. The buzz was gone, so we shifted our gaze to the safe trio of predictability, reliability and resiliency. To sturdy bodies, aged minds and hitting a spot 10,000 times at 130 km an hour.

    The dummy run was John Hastings, but Jackson Bird was the spearhead of the tried-and-tested movement. Of hitting the top of off-stump so often that the novelty wears off, and the batsman is lulled to sleep.

    And we missed the buzz. Jackson Bird became a tool that accumulates dust in the garage – always there and always handy, but it doesn’t glimmer so it doesn’t see daylight. 140+ was back in fashion. Sheer pace and pinpoint accuracy. Patrick Cummins was – as of this week – back in vogue.

    He is the physical embodiment of yesteryear. The easy solution. A reminder of a happier time when any dream was attainable with a bit of luck, a dash of capital and a go-getting attitude.

    And – quite obviously – all of this is a nice story, but none of it is true. Plenty of selections counter this narrative. Also, Starc is a strike bowler, so he should probably be replaced with one-of-his-kind. Patrick Cummins is the raw and probably not match-fit version of that.

    But, I think there’s a few points in this tangent that remain relevant.

    We prize potential over its manifestation.

    The unproven is always sexier than the proven.

    A speck of something is more desirable than substantial evidence of a little bit more.

    And my heart goes out to both Patrick Cummins and Jackson Bird, robbed by injury and an absurd selection panel.

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • March 13th 2017 @ 6:54am
      qwetzen said | March 13th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Aron Lewis said: “We prize potential over its manifestation.” – Speak for yourself! And try being a selector and telling a dropped player that he’s being dropped because of the “potential” of another. You’ll be lucky to see out the season.

      and also said: “The unproven is always sexier than the proven.” Agreed. But for women, not cricket.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 13th 2017 @ 10:08am
        Aron said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        I initially went with that, but they ran out of Lewis licence plates at the gift shop.

        (Also, I would be the world’s worst cricket selector for so many reasons. My gut instinct is always wrong.)

    • March 13th 2017 @ 8:00am
      Adrian said | March 13th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      If Cummins doesn’t break down, he could be useful. But it’s a big if.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 9:03am
        Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Have you heard Mitch Johnson comment on the problems Cummins has had with injury?

        Mitch said he had all the same problems at the same age, and eventually his body got stronger and the rest is history. The only difference is that at the time he was getting the injuries, Mitch was a relative unknown, so it didn’t get any media attention.

        Unlike Cummins, who at 18 thrust himself before the media with a whirlwind test debut, taking SA wickets for fun and hitting the winning runs. What a talent.

        Ever since, we’ve ridden his injury problems.

        Sooner or later he will get over those issues. Hopefully it’s now. None of us (Roarers) know. I’m not convinced the CA medical staff know either, as they don’t inspire me with confidence (I’ve got info from insiders). But sooner or later they’ll get it right.

        He’s put together a solid string of cricket (though little of it with the red ball), and you can’t not pick him in case he breaks down.

    • March 13th 2017 @ 9:20am
      Rob JM said | March 13th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      I’m annoyed that the likes of Joe Mennie and the aging Peter Siddle were picked before Bird. However on indian pitches, where bowling line and length under the hot sun can yield little reward, the option of playing a guy who can bowl like cummins is a must. Starc had been having a poor series so far, yet in two separate overs he was able to change the course of the game.
      Then the other big loss was his batting, Something that Bird does not have but Cummins does.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 10:20am
        Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        I think Bird is there more as backup to Hazelwood. Bird did well in the tour game and got reverse. He is not the worst selection.

        Having 3 no.11s though, when 6 and 7 aren’t getting you runs – is a concern. In an ideal world, bowlers should be picked solely for their bowling.

        • March 13th 2017 @ 6:33pm
          matth said | March 13th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

          Yep, Smith and Co have to farm the strike from 4th wicket down at the moment.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 13th 2017 @ 11:16am
      Aron said | March 13th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      I’m not necessarily advocating for Bird to be Starc’s replacement.I just think he’s been deprived of any continuity at an international level, for reasons that seem to be superficial.

      Also, I think Bird and Hazlewood make for an excellent combination, but maybe that’s another article.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 11:37am
        qwetzen said | March 13th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        I don’t believe that Bird’s that unlucky. There’s been bowlers as good or better who don’t have *any* BGs.

      • Roar Guru

        March 13th 2017 @ 3:19pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | March 13th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

        Plenty of bowlers have gone where Bird has gone before him. Do you forget the early part of Starc’s career where the selectors seemed determined never to pick him for consecutive tests, or casting further back, Brett Lee having a really long period of being the perennial 12th man before finally getting more of a go, or a guy like Andy Bichel, who’s probably a good equivalent to Bird, that good solid bowler who’ll get a chance at times, but when bowlers like Cummins come along and are fit and healthy to play they’ll regularly get put in ahead of them.

        Basically, Bird simple has the life of a good but not great fast bowler. One of regularly being around the fringe, getting games here and there when others have injuries and the like, but never being considered a regular first-teamer.

        • Roar Rookie

          March 13th 2017 @ 10:36pm
          El Loco said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

          Brett Lee was a perennial 12th man?

          • March 15th 2017 @ 8:54am
            tim said | March 15th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

            He was behind McGrath, Gillespie and Kasprowitz for a long time until he usurped Kaspa

    • March 13th 2017 @ 4:40pm
      Cav said | March 13th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

      Pretty simple argument if you ask me. Why did they not consider Cummins to be taken over to India in the first place. He was playing Shield at the time and the selectors obviously considered his match fitness before putting a line through him for not being up to Test fitness. You might also ask why were both Marsh’;s taken to India and why in fact did they play the first two tests and leave Khawaja out. If Bird is left out of this test like he has many times before despite being on tour for someone brought out from Australia then he should be sent home or better still leave of his own accord. The selectors are still in nappy’s.


      • March 13th 2017 @ 6:34pm
        matth said | March 13th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

        They left Cummins in Australia to play Shield matches. Simple. He was only ever coming over if Starc broke down.

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