Pat Cummins made his Test debut ten years ago today. Now gearing up to start preparations for his second home Ashes series, he feels like he's come full circle

10 years ago today, at teenage and baby faced Pat Cummins was handed his baggy green at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg and was awarded man of the match as he guided Australia home to a 2 wicket win.

A lightning quick prodigious talent who ran in and took seven wickets including some of the generational names in South African cricket including Kallis, de Villiers, Amla twice, Steyn, and Morkel.

He did that all on one leg, including hitting the winning runs for good measure too.

Australia had to wait six years to see him feature at Test level again when after many false starts and management through different white-ball cricket after years of consistent injuries, he was back in the whites and with a baggy green on his head in India in 2017.

Cummins’ first full Australian summer was the Ashes series of 2017-18. His first tests on home soil since his much-hyped debut all those years ago.

How quickly things have moved since then for him.

Five years later, Cummins is the number one test match bowler in the world, the leader of Australia’s battery of fast bowlers, and seemingly, the next Australian captain in waiting.

Fresh off a victory at the Men’s T20 World Cup on Sunday and arriving back in Australia to commence preparations for another big summer of cricket, the 28-year-old is excited to get back into the rhythms of another fierce Ashes battle.

“It’s huge. As soon as you finish one Ashes series… Everyone in Australian cricket looks forward to the next one so I’m really pumped” He said.

“It’s kind of a full cycle now that I’ve been playing Test cricket. It’s sort of come full circle.

“It’s great that it’s upon us. I can’t wait to get stuck in”

After the breakthrough triumph in the UAE, Cummins says that despite the change of format, the team will take heaps of confidence from what they were able to do and propel that into what hopes to be a successful home Ashes campaign.

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“Absolutely I think we’ll take confidence from it,” he said

“It’s a different format but you saw someone like Davey Warner, player of the tournament, that’s going to add huge confidence for him heading into the summer.

“I think as a team, as an Australian side, I think we’ve all kind of thought we’ve underperformed in the last few years, haven’t won as many games as we probably expect too as an Australian side.

“To get back out, win a title on the world stage, it can be era-defining for a side, so, everyone is buzzing, really excited for what’s next.

“It was a huge win. Perfect way to start off the summer”

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Despite not playing a red-ball game since February and only 7 T20 matches since April, Cummins said his body feels fresh and ready to go having carefully trained and managed his pre-season over an extended period at home after opting out of the mid-year white ball tours to both the West Indies and Bangladesh.

That said, the leader of the attack said he would be surprised if he and his fellow bowling attack were persisted with for all four test matches this series.

Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon played all four Test’s last year against India but tired out spectacularly in the final tests in Sydney and Brisbane, allowing the tourists to secure a remarkable series win.

“My body feels as good as it has in a couple of years. There’s no niggles,” Cummins said. “I think the first, I guess, benefit of the short spells is we’re all feeling really fresh. I always feel like it’s better to be underdone than overdone coming into a big Test series,” he said

“For now it’s just trying to work back from that day one, get a few good bowls in, I think. We’ve got access to quite a few centre wickets. So we’ll have three, four, five centre wickets where we try and have relatively big days, you know, bowl a couple of spells on those days. And we’ll be ready to go. And we had a similar prep last year and all felt really good going into that Adelaide first Test.”

“The great thing is we’ve got a huge stable of fast bowlers. So yeah, I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue if someone’s not able to get up for a Test or someone’s just red-lining a little bit. Someone else can slot in.

“I’d be surprised if the same four bowlers were used for all five Tests. That’s pretty rare, especially the five-Test match summer. But I certainly won’t be putting my hand up to be rested unless I’ve got something going wrong.”

Australia rotated their bowlers all throughout the 2019 Ashes tour of England and ultimately paid dividends as they retained the urn abroad. With the squad for the first two matches being announced today, including West Australian tyro Jhye Richardson and Queensland’s Michael Neser who has been a regular in the Australian squad for a few seasons now.

Cummins was buoyed by their inclusions.

“I think both can slot in really well,” Cummins said. “It might be like-for-like maybe in some regards. I’d say probably Jhye, especially last week, I only saw a little bit but apparently, he bowled beautifully up here at the Gabba.

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“It’s really great to see him [Richardson] back around the squad. He was on the verge of a World Cup and an Ashes series a couple of years ago before having a shoulder injury, so it’s great to see him get back and bowling well, fully fit, and hopefully he kind of starts off where he left off against Sri Lanka a few years ago.”

Australia will only have one three-day intra-squad match to prepare for the first Ashes Test starting December 8 at the Gabba.

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