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'Won't be putting my hand up to be rested': Cummins on how bowlers will manage Ashes

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17th November, 2021
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Pat Cummins doubts Australia will get through the Ashes with the same fast bowlers but insists a rotation policy won’t be in use.

Fresh off the T20 World Cup triumph, Cummins and fellow pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc have begun preparing for the Ashes after Wednesday’s squad announcement.

Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are part of the 15-man squad for the first two Tests as fast-bowling back-ups, but Cummins believes they’ll only be called upon if there is an injury.

“When someone is, I guess, ‘rested’, there’s normally more to it than purely workload,” Cummins said.

“There are always niggles and small little injuries that we’re dealing with basically after every single Test match.

“The great thing is we’ve got a huge stable of fast bowlers, so I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue if someone is not able to get up for a Test or someone is just red-lining a little bit. Someone else can slot in.

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“I’d be surprised if the same four bowlers were used for all five Tests – that’s pretty rare, especially in a five-Test match summer.

“I certainly won’t be putting my hand up to be rested unless I’ve got something going on.”

Australia’s front-line bowling quartet – the three quicks and veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon – featured in all four Tests of last season’s home summer against India.

Young all-rounder Cameron Green provided relief with some handy overs.

Cummins said the speedsters feel “really fresh” a few weeks out from the first Test at the Gabba after short spells throughout the T20 World Cup.

“I think [resting bowlers] is spoken about a lot more than it actually happens,” Cummins said.

“I think if someone is rested there are a few niggles or injuries or someone is really running on fumes.

“I don’t think you’ll see a pre-emptive resting just for the sake of it.”

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If a change is required, Cummins backed Richardson – the 25-year-old Western Australia quick who played two Tests against Sri Lanka in 2019 – to capably fill the void.

“Especially last week – I only saw a little bit, but apparently he bowled beautifully up here at the Gabba [with Sheffield Shield match figures of 8/61 against Queensland],” Cummins said.

“It’s really great to see him around the squad. He was on the verge of a World Cup and an Ashes series before having a shoulder injury, so it’s great to see him get back and bowling well, fully fit.

“Hopefully, if he gets a go, he starts off where he left off against Sri Lanka a couple of years ago.”

Elsewhere, Cummins – considered by many the successor to Tim Paine as Test skipper – addressed the narrative that his hefty bowling workload would impact his captaincy.

He doesn’t see it as an issue considering the support around him.

It’s not something he’ll have to worry about just yet with 36-year-old Paine, who recently underwent neck surgery, expected to be fine for the start of the Ashes.

“I’ve been in the [vice-captain] role for a few years now … Hopefully Tim will be fine – he’s nearing 100 percent,” Cummins said.

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“He’s been doing plenty of batting and ‘keeping, so he’ll be fine. I’ll be ready if I have to but I doubt that.

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“I think it’s something you’ve got to be aware of [managing your workload as a bowling captain], but if I was in the role and I found it tough at times, there are 10 other guys I’d lean on out in the middle.

“You’ve got people like Smithy [Steve Smith] and Davey Warner who are incredibly experienced, all the bowlers are experienced and look after themselves pretty well.

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“So I’d have no issue handballing it over to other people to help out.”

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