Cummins primes for pink-ball debut

As prepared as I can be – Cummins (0:44)

Pat Cummins stated that Australia have good options in terms of team balance ahead of this summer’s Ashes series, and looked at his own preparations in terms of fitness for a long season ahead (0:44)

Pink ball experience looms as a firm advantage for Australia in this summer’s Ashes series, but there’s one key member of Steven Smith‘s bowling attack who is yet to hurl one down in anger. Pat Cummins, one of the vaunted pace trio alongside Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, will play his first day-night first-class match in Adelaide from Friday for New South Wales against South Australia.

In a reminder of how carefully Cummins has been managed by Cricket Australia’s team performance wing over the past few seasons, he has still played a mere eight first-class games aside from his five Tests – four this year in India and Bangladesh – and the Adelaide Oval match will be only his second Shield appearance since the 2011 competition final.

Smith will also line up alongside fellow Test stars David Warner and Starc, while wicketkeeper Peter Nevill will be looking to put his name forward for a Test recall. The match will be ideal preparation for the second Test with England in Adelaide in early December, the first ever Ashes Test to be played as a day-night fixture using the pink ball.

“It’s my first ever game with a pink ball, so just probably finding a bit of rhythm,” Cummins said, when asked what he hoped to get out of the Blues’ Shield opener. “I’ve played a lot of white ball the last couple months and coming into red ball [or] pink ball, I feel like it takes me a spell or two to learn how to swing the ball consistently. So that’s what I’m probably looking forward to it is having a ball that moves around and yeah, from there, just try and build up really good rhythm and bowl lots of overs.”

Asked if the pink ball was hard to control, Cummins said: “I’ve only had a couple of net sessions and no, not really. It’s swung around quite a bit, but pretty consistent swing. I’m just happy to have a ball in my hand that swings.”

Looking ahead to the Ashes, Smith has said that Australia’s pioneering role with the pink ball would be an advantage over England, who played their first day-night Test earlier this year against West Indies in Birmingham. “I’ve played in two of them [day-night Tests] now and Shield games as well. It’s a fantastic concept and the crowd there is something different,” Smith said this week.

“We’ve probably got a little more experience with the pink ball than the English do as well, so that’s a bit of a plus. And we’ve won our first two day-night Test matches so let’s hope we can make it a third. It obviously plays a little bit different to the red ball and you’ve got to have some tactics in place.”

The pink ball will be another unknown for Cummins, who admitted on Wednesday that he was still learning about his own rhythm and how and when he could get to his very fastest – clocked at better than 150kph – ahead of a series in which Smith in particular will want to use Cummins as a shock weapon.

“That’s 100% right, there was one day I just felt like I was running in faster and it was coming out really well and I thought that was as fast as I’d bowled in a long time,” Cummins responded when asked to recall one particular day when he was bowling with some heat. “And then that afternoon, the other boys reckon I was bowling a lot faster. It’s just one of those things, some days when you feel like you’re not bowling with too much effort that’s sometimes your fastest days. Sometime it just clicks.

“You have a general idea and you try and run in fast in certain spells, on certain days I hope the more I bowl and the older I get, hopefully I learn those nuances a bit more. But yeah certainly each tour I play, each series I play, I definitely feel like I’m starting to know myself a little bit better and am finding out or learning how little I did know about myself beforehand.”

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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