Pat Cummins is being backed to lead from the front in all six closely-packed Tests in England – thanks to the emergence of all-star allrounder Cameron Green.
Batting great Ricky Ponting knows all about the stresses and strains of leading an Australian team in the Ashes but, naturally, he understands there are extra pressures, physical and mental, on a pace bowler-captain like Cummins.
With both Australia and England bound to have to chop-and-change with their arsenal of quicks because of the congested nature of the Ashes, the only one set to play in all six of their Tests in a crammed eight-week schedule is the skipper.
Cummins, who’s had to manage his workload carefully after injury woes beset his early international career, says he’s determined to play them all.
And asked he considered that a realistic undertaking for Cummins, Ponting said: “Yes I do.
The Green factor
“The fact that Cameron Green’s there makes it that little bit easier for him.
“In series gone by, when there hasn’t been that world-class all-rounder you can throw the ball to for 15 overs an innings, then it would have been less likely.
“But if Pat manages himself well enough, with Green there to sort of help out, I think the captain can get through.”
What Ponting has witnessed so far from both the 30-year-old skipper and Green in the World Test Championship final against India at The Oval persuades him that Cummins is well set for a productive summer.
In his 50th Test, he gradually cranked up into some intimidating, finger-jarring form with three wickets in his 20 overs, while Green helped ease the load on his captain, Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc with 12 probing overs that brought him two wickets.
Cummins did more than anyone to ensure his side enjoyed a 173-run first-innings lead which they had extended to 296 for the loss of four wickets by the end of day three.
While there was some concern over the half-dozen no-balls that Cummins sent down, the most in any innings of his international career, Ponting wasn’t worried.
“Pat’s problems with no-balls has shown his rhythm hasn’t been where he’d want it to be. It’s simple; he’s lacking rhythm, hasn’t played for three months.
“But he’s never been someone I’ve thought of who’s been plagued by any sort of no-ball issues, I just think it’s probably because he’s not back into full game mode yet.
“But as the day went on (on Friday’s third day), he did look a little better, I must admit, and I think he’ll be better in the second innings as well.”