‘Super package’ Cummins rewards faith
FOR a few years in his early 20s, Pat Cummins was the highest paid university student in Australia.
But the pay-off for Cricket Australia's long-term investment in a bowler so plagued by injuries is really starting to reap rewards.
Cummins pounded away on a wicket offering nothing, smashing in to helmets on day one and fingers on day two, as well as getting the breakthroughs his team needed.
"When there is not a real lot happening, he seems to be the guy that can make something out of nothing," Aussie opener Aaron Finch said after Cummins racked up 34 overs across two days.
It was the most of all the fast bowlers, and he was easily the most repeatedly effective as he finished with 3-72.
"The way that patty keeps fronting up and coming back is a real testament to his fitness. The amount of work to get himself in to the condition he is, to back up Test after Test," Finch said.
"He's a super player, a super package as a cricketer."
But the Catch-22 of Cummins being the most effective bowler on a wicket as bland as a piece of plain toast, is the toll taken on a body so fragile it stopped him playing cricket for five years.
The Cummins story isn't an untold one. He burst on to the Test scene in 2011 as an 18-year-old firebrand bowling in excess of 150kmh.
He took seven wickets on debut in South Africa, but didn't play under the baggy green again for six years.
It was during that period CA kept Cummins on the books, getting him through back issue after back issue, nursing him through a one-day game or two, before he finally got back to Test fitness in 2017.
Since March last year, Cummins has played 16 Tests, missing only the series in the United Arab Emirates in October.
He's never taken less than two wickets in any of his Test appearances either, contributing all the time, but nursed as well.
Cummins has only played 28 first class games, a number which includes his 17 Tests.
He conceded to questioning where his career was going as he battled through his back injuries.
"I really started to question where my career was going to go," he said.
"You feel like you fall back in the pecking order every time you get injured."
Warne said, along with spinner Nathan Lyon, Cummins was now the first man picked in his Test team.
He's right back at the top of the pecking order and Australia needs him to stay there.