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Do Tim Paine and Justin Langer ever look at Pat Cummins' stats?

24th January, 2019
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Expert
24th January, 2019
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In the last 13 completed Tests, Steve Smith captained the baggy greens for the first eight until he was suspended, when Tim Paine took over.

Smith and coach Darren Lehmann set up a pecking order for their three world class quicks. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood opened the bowling, leaving Pat Cummins with the first change role around the ninth to 11th over.

And it worked a treat, with Australia regaining the Ashes 4-0.

But the pecking order statistically came out differently.

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Pat Cummins 197.1 43 567 23 24.65
Mitch Starc 162.3 32 518 22 23.54
Josh Hazlewood 190.5 49 544 21 25.90

No matter, the net result was all that mattered, and it was comprehensive, so there was no reason to change the pecking order in South Africa.

But again, first change number three quick Cummins came out well on top as South Africa cruised to a 3-1 series victory.

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Pat Cummins 155.4 32 472 22 21.45
Mitch Starc 109.2 18 413 12 34.41
Josh Hazlewood 160 30 471 12 39.25

You would think that with Paine and Justin Langer now at the helm, that the pecking over would change to take on India – the world number one Test nation – nominating Cummins and Starc to open the bowling, with Hazlewood first change.

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Pat Cummins of Australia

Pat Cummins. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

No, that was far too obvious, so Paine and Langer toed the party line.

Was it habit, ignorance, tradition or tunnel vision?

Take your pick.

India won the series 2-1, with Cummins again the leading quick.

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Pat Cummins 145 29 389 14 27.78
Mitch Starc 152.1 51 398 13 30.61
Josh Hazlewood 138.5 26 449 13 34.54

After two losing series in succession, the pecking order would have to change, especially as Cummins was clearly the leading quick taking into account the last three series:

Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Pat Cummins 497.5 104 1428 59 24.20
Mitch Starc 410.4 76 1380 47 29.36
Josh Hazlewood 503 130 1413 46 30.72
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Cummins with 12 more wickets than Starc, 13 more than Hazlewood, and a far better average than both, said it all.

The penny had to drop at the Gabba yesterday against Sri Lanka with Hazlewood out injured. Cummins would have to step up with the new ball, irrespective of the tradition.

Not on your life.

Jhye Richardson not only made his debut by replacing Hazlewood, but stepped straight in Hazlewood’s boots with the new ball, leaving best performed quick Cummins still in the first change role.

True, Richardson bowled superbly well to play a major role with 3-26 in dismissing Sri Lanka for 144.

But Cummins again finished with the best figures of 4-39.

Australia’s best performed quick constantly bowling first change?

Farcical.

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