Pat Cummins hopes to emulate Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes

Johnson’s story is similar to Cummins as he too had to come back from a string of serious injuries to regain his place.

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

One of those bowlers who adds charge to Australia’s lethal pace battery is Pat Cummins. Even though he is uncertain that his body can handle the demands of five Ashes Tests, the young pacer hopes to emulate Mitchell Johnson and become a force to reckon with against England’s batting line-up.

In his roller coaster journey so far, Cummins had to wait six years between his first and second Test due to the injury-plagued phase and has only played two Tests in succession twice, in India in March and on the latest tour to Bangladesh.

Interestingly, Johnson’s story is similar to Cummins as he too had to come back from a string of serious injuries to regain his place in the Australian team before devastating England with 37 wickets during the 5-0 whitewash in Ashes 2013/14. Johnson’s experience gives 24-year-old Cummins hope that he too can make an impact in the series starting in Brisbane next week.

“We saw what Mitchell Johnson did last Ashes series here — it would be a role I would love to play,” Cummins told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday. “Having those five or six years (on sidelines) … I think it will mean a bit more when I go out there. It probably gave me a little bit of confidence and a little bit of patience (seeing Johnson’s comeback),” he added.

“I feel like I’m in the best position I can be, but we’ll have to wait and see — there’s no guarantees,” added Cummins of his hopes of playing a full series.

Realising his dream

The pacer burst onto the world stage with a seven-wicket haul against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011 as an 18-year-old prodigy but played only his second Test against India in Ranchi in March this year. There was a succession of lower back stress injuries in between and he has been eased back slowly into the longer format.

Known to bowl consistent express pace, he will combine with the bowling spearhead Mitchell Starc to be the chief aggressors against England, with the slower Josh Hazlewood complementing the pair with tight line and length. With his five Tests all played on away pitches, Cummins is relishing the prospect of battling ‘the old enemy’ in front of home fans.

“As a fast bowler, it’s (about) getting in their face and being relentless in everything we do,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get out there. As a kid growing up, you watch a lot of Test cricket on TV. To be in that position where I might play in one, I’m pumped,” the 24-year-old said.