The pinnacle for any Australian cricketer is The Ashes, and with the next instalment in the historic rivalry around a year away, excitement is going to build pretty quickly.
Having retained the little urn by drawing the series in England in 2019, combined with the fact that they have home advantage this time around, it’s the Aussies who will start as favourites. Although, with the latest cricket betting odds having them at 8/15, compared to England at 11/4, it shows there isn’t too much between the sides.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 15, 2019
However, there’s no denying that Australia’s tag as favourites is totally justified and that may stem from the form of two players in particular. In Steve Smith, they boast a formidable batsman and a player who has regularly delivered in The Ashes over the years.
Whilst he may capture the headlines, they have another star performer leading the bowling attack in Pat Cummins. Of course, the 27-year-old is not a new name to cricket fans, and everyone knows about the talent he has. After all, he made his test debut nine years ago and has gone on to achieve great things in the game in all formats.
But he hasn’t had the best of luck in The Ashes. Injuries and the competition for places meant he didn’t really make a significant impact during his younger days. Although, he did play his part in retaining the urn in 2019, and there is a feeling that he is ready to make an even bigger mark in 12 months’ time.
Cummins has matured into a brilliant bowler and is flying right now. Such is his ability, he earned the IPL record for highest fee for an overseas player when he was bought for $3.17m last December.
Additionally, the Aussie is ranked as the number one test bowler in the world and, quite simply, he is at his peak. In terms of both his physicality, which is obviously crucial to a fast bowler, and his mentality, Cummins is in a great place – and that has to worry the English.
As touched upon, the fast bowler appears to embrace and relish the fact he is regarded as the best around. Where it may have been something that adds needless and unnecessary pressure to a player, Cummins has overcome that, which has shown in his performances in recent years.
The Big Hairy’s.
Amazing few weeks, crazy to see all the excitement after the win yesterday and even more crazy to be part of it all. Loving it. pic.twitter.com/vPgpMJVNAA
— Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) December 19, 2017
His success can also have an impact on the opposition. There’s no doubt that lining up to face Cummins is going to be a daunting prospect, particularly in Australia and on the pitches he has grown up playing on.
The Ashes bring together two great teams and often produces dramatic moments as its usually down to the big players to make the difference. We’ve seen the likes of Sir Don Bradman, Sir Ian Botham and more recently Shane Warne, Ben Stokes and Steve Smith all deliver inspired performances.
The challenge for Cummins will be to add his name to that list by producing a performance that will ensure Australia keeps The Ashes once again.