Patrick James Cummins’ inclusion in Australia’s squad for the series away from home against South Africa did not come as a surprise. The then 18-year-old was included in the squad after impressing the selectors in the 2010/11 domestic season.
The pacer enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Big Bash League in 2010/11. He was the joint highest wicket taker along with Nathon Lyon – 11 wickets in just six matches. He continued the same form in the Champions League in India where he consistently bowled in excess of 145 kph on subcontinent pitches.
This paved way for his inclusion in the national side for the series against South Africa in October 2011.
However, Cummins’ game time has been reduced due to the injuries he has sustained regularly in his career. The 23-year-old now returns to the Test arena after a long break of nearly six years. Here are the 10 things you need to know about the Australian pacer:
#10 Debut at the age of 18
Cummins was born in Westmead – a suburb of Sydney. He played his junior level cricket in Sydney and eventually went on to represent New South Wales at the age of 17.
The right-arm fast bowler was no ordinary teenager, the lanky pacer had deliveries close to 150 kph up his sleeve. At an age where most cricketers struggle to make an impact in the domestic circuit, Cummins was ready to make a mark in Australian colours.
The young speedster earned his first cap on the 13th of October, 2011 in a T20I match against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town.
The Newlands stadium is renowned for its spectacular view just at the foot of Table mountain and Cummins announced his arrival spectacularly as well. He grabbed three wickets for just 25 runs in his quota of four overs.
Cummins then went on to make his ODI debut a week later against the same opposition.
#9 Top speed of 153 km/hr (95 miles per hour)
Ever since Cummins made it to the Australian national side, he caught everyone’s attention because of his unique ability to clock astonishing speeds with the cricket ball. In a 2015 World Cup match in Sydney, the speedster clocked in a 153 km/hr delivery and was ambitious of breaking his own record later in the tournament.
Amongst the current crop of fast bowlers in the international arena, there are many bowlers who bowl above the 145-mark but only a handful of them can cross 150 km per hour.
Therefore, it is pretty safe to say that Cummins definitely features in the top-3 bowlers who consistently bowl above the 150 kph mark.
#8 Injury-laden career
Fast bowlers often cause discomfort to the batsman with terrifying pace, but most of them also cause discomfort to their own body. Well, Pat Cummins is no different. The New South Welshman has endured serious injuries in his short-lived career. In spite of tasting success on debut in all the formats of the game, the Aussie quick just has 47 international appearances.
Early on in his career, Cummins was plagued with stress fractures and it constantly curtailed his run in the national team. After battling through the initial set of injuries, he was part of the ODI series against England in 2015 where he suffered a lower lumbar stress fracture and was ruled out for over a year.
After a gap of nearly 20 months, he returned to the international side in the series against New Zealand last month.
#7 Youngest player to be given a central contract
Not many countries boast a rich cricket history, however, Australia do. To play for a nation like Australia is a great achievement and to become the youngest T20 player to play for the country is a bigger feat indeed.
When Cummins made his debut against South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town, he was all but 18 years and 158 days old. Thus, he became the youngest Australian to earn a national cricket contract.
So far, he has played 18 T20Is and has 23 wickets to his name with an amazing bowling economy of 6.84. His best figures in the format are 15/3 and he strikes once every 18 balls.
#6 Idolized Brett Lee
Sheer pace, subtle variation, infamous pumping celebration, great discipline and lovely action are the things which sum up Brett Lee. Lee is perhaps one of the most successful bowlers in Australia’s cricket history and became the face of the Australian bowling unit in the early 2000s.
Cummins was a 6-year-old when Lee debuted and it did not take much time for the youngster to be inspired by Lee. Both Lee and Cummins have played for New South Wales in the domestic circuit but the duo has represented Australia together in only a few matches.
While speaking about his idol, Cummins had once expressed his gratitude for the invaluable tips he had received from his role model.
#5 He has already won the IPL
Yes, you read it right. Cummins has achieved something that even Virat Kohli hasn't. The tall fast bowler has an IPL title to his name despite featuring in only four matches throughout his IPL career.
In the 2014 IPL auctions, the Australian was bought for INR 1 crore by the Kolkata Knight Riders outfit and the Kolkata-based franchise went on to win the IPL that very year.
However, Cummins played only one game in the tournament against the CSK team in which he conceded 29 runs in four overs and also rattled Dwayne Smith’s stumps. His other three appearances came in the 2015 edition of IPL.
#4 Seven wickets in his first but last Test match
The speedster was in the spotlight when he took seven wickets for 117 runs in his Test debut in 2011. You might wonder why someone who scalped seven wickets has never played again in almost six years. Well, persistent injuries are the prime reason for the pacer’s absence in the longer format.
In his first Test match at Johannesburg, Cummins ripped apart the South African batting line-up. He had a quiet outing in the first innings but it was in the second innings where he snatched six wickets and also struck the winning runs in a historic 2-wicket win.
He was declared the Man of the Match for his 79/6 in the second innings.
#3 He is already a World Cup winner
Pat Cummins played only twice in Australia’s World Cup-winning campaign on home soil. The selectors believed that his consistency coupled with pace and discipline would be beneficial.
In spite of playing only a couple of matches in the tournament, Cummins performed exceptionally well in the limited opportunities he got.
His first game was against New Zealand in a low-scoring encounter at Auckland, where he hung around with Brad Haddin to add 45 runs for the last wicket and also took two wickets in a losing cause.
His second outing was against Scotland where he took three wickets for 42 runs to bundle out the opposition for a cheap 130 at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart.
#2 He will play for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 10
After successfully recovering from injury, Cummins was determined to put the bad memories behind him and play cricket regularly. In spite of not featuring in a single international match in more than 20 months, the right-arm fast bowler was included in the recently-concluded IPL auctions.
His IPL career numbers are not too pretty – he has an economy rate of 9.00 and just two wickets. However, a good run in the 2016/17 Big Bash League worked in his favour as Delhi Daredevils bagged him for 4.5 crores after some competitive bidding.
He scored 139 runs in six matches in the BBL, which included six sixes and eight fours. It was evident that his all-round skill set had forced the IPL teams to splash money on him.
#1 Return to Test cricket after 6 years
Cummins is still one of the most promising fast bowlers in the international arena. But the speedster’s injury woes have forced him to stay away from the game for quite a while and he is no longer in the spotlight.
The right-arm pacer is currently on a comeback run in all formats of the game. Last month, he returned to limited-overs cricket against Sri Lanka and now an injury to compatriot Starc has provided Cummins with an opportunity in the Test format as well.
If he is picked for the third Test match against India at Ranchi, he will be playing only the second Test match of his career and also the first in six years.