India vs Australia third Test: Pat 'Freak of Nature' Cummins will give India problems, says SRH all-rounder

Deepak Vikraman
Pat Cummins, Australia, India, third Test, Henriques

Pat Cummins looks like the perfect replacement for Mitchell Starc on paper – a right-arm version of Starc, who can swing the ball and bowl at a searing pace, enough to trouble any batsman in the world.

No more groaning, let's just get on with the cricket please

So, it will be a surprise if Australia do not include Cummins, who was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for Rs 4.5 crore in the IPL 2017 Player Auction, for the third Test match against India in Ranchi, even with all the fitness issues the fast bowler has had to deal with over the past few years.

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Fitness and if Cummins will last the whole match will be the only reason the 23-year-old might not make it to the final playing XI for Australia, but as far as Moises Henriques, his New South Wales captain, is concerned, selecting the "freak of nature" in the final XI is something the Australia selectors must do.

"In terms of skill-wise if you want someone to play for Australia, Pat Cummins is your man," Henriques told Cricket Australia's official website.

"Can he bowl at the level? 100 per cent he can. He's a freak of nature. He's going to be very good."

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However, even Henriques admits taking a call over Cummins durability in a Test match will not be an easy one to make. The pace bowler played his first Sheffield Shield match – Australia's first-class tournament – in six years recently, taking eight wickets in that game, which gave the selectors the avenue to call him up.

"Whether he's ready physically on the back of one Shield game that's a completely different kettle of fish," Henriques said. "There's a number of different factors when it comes to selecting guys to play for Australia in those sorts of conditions.

"It was only one Shield game earlier that he got ruled out and apparently he wasn't ready to play Shield cricket for NSW, and now on the back of one Shield game he's ready to play a Test series in India. That's (the selectors') call."

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If Cummins, as expected, does make it to the playing XI for the Ranchi Test against India, the strategy from captain Steven Smith is likely to be to give the fast bowler short spells, to make sure he lasts the five days. To be fair, that is the strategy that has been used for the fast bowlers in the previous two Tests as well, so there is no need to go off plan for Cummins.

Henriques used Cummins in short spells in the Shield match and the Sunrisers Hyderabad player believes that might be the smart strategy, even if the fast bowler might be capable of bowling longer spells.

"He's very fit, he can run all day," Henriques added. "He's a big, strong athletic lad.

"He would bowl eight or nine-over spells if you asked him to. There's no issue there but for the sake of his first game back I definitely didn't want to push him too hard."

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