Cummins Has Star Quality

The top order didnít seem to be picking Imran Tahir Ė this young lad clearly was. His bowling in the second innings was precise, quick, skilful and well thought out. It looks like we have seen the emergence of a new star in the game

Neil Fairbrother
Cummins Has Star Quality

The second test match in Jo-burg was sensational, it made great viewing.

For Australia to chase down 310 in the fourth innings was a great effort. From personal experience, the wicket in Jo-burg doesn’t deteriorate.  If overhead conditions stayed reasonable, I had a feeling Australia could get very close.

But after it rained for a couple of hours on the fifth morning, South Africa were probably favourites. Vernon Philander has been impressive and with Dale Steyn swinging it away from the right hander at 93mph, it was going to be very difficult.

Australia fought well, even as wickets were falling. Brad Haddin, who may have been playing for his test career, got a really gutsy 50. Mitchell Johnson put his foot down the wicket and hit through the line of the ball. Then Pat Cummins came in, at 18 years of age, and dealt with the pressure of getting the last 20 runs with eight wickets down. He was as calm as calm could be and looked like he had been playing test cricket for 10 years.

The top order didn’t seem to be picking Imran Tahir – this young lad clearly was and worked the googly through mid-wicket to win the match. His bowling in the second innings was precise, quick, skilful and well thought out. It looks like we have seen the emergence of a new star in the game.

It was an absolute shame there were only two test matches. A major series with two of the best teams is usually over four or five and when they are it’s a fantastic spectacle.

The crowds in test cricket have been disappointing. The only country in the world that is constantly filling the grounds for test cricket is England. But the most disappointing sight this autumn has been the lack of crowds in India – even for the 50 over games.  I’m sure there are alarm bells ringing at the BCCI. The world’s governing body also needs to keep an eye on attendance patterns.

For county cricket sides with 12 month contracts this is the time of year where an awful lot of hard work goes into the physical side of the game. They will have a break at Christmas,  top-up their fitness in the New Year, before working on cricket skills.

Our own Jos Buttler is part of an England performance squad travelling out to India to hone his skills in a completely different environment. The stark reality of the difference in wickets was brought home at the end of the summer. England hammered India in the test and one-day series over here but the same team got hammered themselves in the sub-continent.

In India the ball doesn’t bounce as high and the pace of the wicket is slower. When the spinners come on there can be prodigious turn. For Jos to spend three weeks batting against constant spin, on slow pitches with specialist spin batting coaches, will do him world of good.

There will be more and more tournaments in the sub-continent so it is vital our young players get as much experience as possible of the conditions out there.

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