Back to Home Page
Can Cummins catapult Australia to Ashes glory?
For many an England fan in recent times, the departure of the WACA from future Ashes series will be a moment of celebration. The ground in Perth has seen seven consecutive huge victories for Australia and this Thursday, the “fastest track in the world” will play host to its last Ashes spectacle. In each of those seven victories, there have been performances which can be remembered for generations to come. Whether it was Steve Smith’s gutsy century four years ago, or Adam Gilchrist’s magnificent hundred in 2006, these moments are still talked about in bars and pubs in Western Australia today. Those two hundreds came at a time when Australia arrived in Perth two nil up and a chance to reclaim the precious urn. Smith’s men come to the ground on Thursday in the same position and will hope the good omens pay dividends. The spotlight is on Nathan Lyon, who has been doing the talking with his mouth and with the ball in hand. However, even if Lyon and Mitchell Starc have had more rewards, one bowler has stood out for the baggy greens. Will Pat Cummins get the rewards he deserves with a standout display?
Throughout the series, along with Lyon, Cummins has looked threatening every time his towering figure steps onto the crease. Starc and Josh Hazlewood have also been a key part of the fearsome foursome, they have had times where their line and length have been wayward to be polite. Cummins not only has been able to generate extraordinary pace, but has been able to locate that corridor of uncertainty more often than not. That lethal combination has made him arguably the most frightening bowler in the world at the moment. Furthermore, even if the WACA pitch is not the fast bowlers’ paradise it once was, the pace and bounce is still evident. One thinks back to the best spell bowled at this ground in history. It wasn’t down to unnerving bounce and pace that did the talking, it was beautiful line and length that did the damage. Curtly Ambrose took seven for one in a spell for the ages after getting it wrong in the morning session. Unlike Starc and Hazlewood, Cummins has used the short ball sparingly and it looks like he will continue that pattern for the rest of the series. For the Aussie faithful, there will be no better sight than seeing Cummins rip through the English lineup to get their hands on the most famous trophy in cricket.
Another aspect of the WACA history in the Ashes that supports Cummins is how players have stepped up in the face of adversity to deliver match winning performances. As mentioned earlier, Gilchrist smashed a 57 ball century to put the final nail in England’s coffin in 2006. However, this came at a time when remarkably, his place in the side was in serious doubt. For the last year and a half, Gilchrist was at the mercy of Andrew Flintoff going around the wicket. The first time Flintoff did that in that match, Gilchrist edged the ball and had his heart in his mouth. But, the ball went towards the boundary rope and the man on his home ground did not look back from that moment. Four years ago, the return of Mitchell Johnson was storied like no other, and boy did he deliver in that series. While he may not have got the best results in Perth, he certainly bowled with the most venom in that match and gave his captain the final wicket when needed. Cummins has faced his own demons due to the plethora of injuries he has suffered over the last five years. This comeback into the Australian side is admirable to say the least. Smith will hope that someone can deliver like Johnson, and the most likely person to give him that joy looks to be Cummins.
So all eyes from England and Australia turn to Perth to bid farewell to the WACA, England look all at sea in their quest to retain the Ashes. And Cummins is looking to add to the wounds by delivering the final blow for his country.