Cummins grossly under-bowled himself in Delhi Test: Border
NEW DELHI: Pat Cummins, who had faced just one defeat as captain before coming to India, was the sole quick in the Australian playing XI in the six-wicket loss in Delhi. He bowled just 13 overs in the first innings and didn’t bowl at all in India’s second essay.
The legendary Allan Border feels Cummins had a lot to worry about as the series against India was his “first real test as captain” and in the process under-bowled himself in the second Test in Delhi.
Australia conceded the four-match series for the Border Gavaskar Trophy after losing the opening two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi.
“To me, the fast bowler, it’s always fraught with danger. I thought Pat grossly under-bowled himself in that Test match,” Border told SEN Radio.
“There were opportunities when things were starting to go stray, particularly in the Indian first innings when we had them on the ropes and they formed a good partnership, a couple of blasts from him running in and bowling some short stuff for two or three overs….”
Australia had reduced India to 139/7 before Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin shared a 114-run stand to take India to just one run short of the visiting team’s first innings total.
“There are other guys out on the field I suppose who could go to the captain and say, ‘mate, why don’t you have a bowl’?” Border said.
“But I just thought this is Pat’s first real test as a captain, the rest has been plain sailing, you go to the sub-continent and all of a sudden you get tested out in all sorts of areas.
“He’s worried about lots of different things, he forgot about himself bowling I think. That’s what can happen in those situations when your premier fast bowler is your captain.”
However, Border was also sympathetic towards Cummins.
“There is a lot going on, even if you’re the captain in those situations and you’re a batter. People don’t really appreciate how tough it is, it’s a really different place to play the game in the sub-continent,” he explained.
“You’ve got to have your wits about you, that’s for sure… when it’s not going right and it’s going south, it goes south very quickly.”
Former wicketkeeper Ian Healy felt Cummins lost the “mind power” to set the field properly in the second innings.
“Then the mental stress that’s involved in getting your field right, he didn’t seem to have that in the last innings.
“He still had men on the boundary instead of extra catchers around the bat… that takes a lot of mind power to keep it all together thinking about that and (bowling changes).”
Cummins has flown back home from the tour of India due to a “serious family illness” following the second Test. He is expected to return to India for the remaining two games of the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Indore and Ahmedabad.
(With PTI inputs)