Pat Cummins believes that the challenge of facing the fairly foreign and unknown conditions in Pakistan will lend himself to be more ‘creative and brave’ as a captain on a historic and long overdue tour.
With Australia about to embark on their first test tour to Pakistan in 24 years, Cummins spoke about the uncertainty on Friday.
“We don’t really know what to expect there,” Cummins said on Friday prior to the team’s final training session before departing for Pakistan.
“Subcontinent Test matches can be played quickly or slowly, but for a lot of this group, we haven’t played a lot of cricket overseas, so if we want to be No.1 in the world, we have to have a really good showing on these subcontinent tours.”
After a demolition job of England during a home soil Ashes, where three of the five Test matches played did not make it to day five, Cummins expects there to be no such luxury in Pakistan.
“A hard-fought, five-day grinding out for a draw – might be as good as a win.
“I really like getting into the grind and I think that’s going to be a challenge for our team, and one that hopefully we can embrace.”
Cummins is preparing for reverse swing to be a crucial element over the three-match series.
“A lot of time the ball reverse swings so we didn’t really experience it this summer with grassy wickets, short games, whereas over there it can be a real weapon so we’re trying to upskill that.”
To accommodate this, a recent training camp in Melbourne included having batters practicing primarily against bowlers with reverse swing and using balls with both a red and white side. The MCG pitch was also manipulated to mimic the pitches seen on the subcontinent.
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The uncertainty and changing conditions throughout the series may mean that the entire 18-man squad will play a role.
“After the Ashes series, what pleased me most as captain was that it wasn’t that we had just eleven players perform, it was a squad of 15 and everyone had a real influence on the series.
“Now going over there we have added an extra spinner – there are so many options to structure the team and have success.”
The make-up of the opening pair is still up in the air, with Cummins suggesting that “it will be either Marcus (Harris) or Uzzy (Usman Khawaja)” who will partner David Warner at the top of the order.
This will be the first test tour without former coach Justin Langer for captain Cummins, who indicated that he will be seeking advice and support from vice-captain Steve Smith. Smith previously captained Australia in subcontinental tours in 2017.
“I feel lucky to have someone like Smithy there who has not only captained in the subcontinent but played there quite a bit.”
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