Pat Cummins has been named as a potential candidate for axing from Australia's T20 side as the hosts battle to remain in contention for the top prize.
Australia managed to dispatch Sri Lanka on Tuesday night courtesy of a swashbuckling innings from Marcus Stoinis, but a less than convincing performance with the ball has left Mark Waugh worried.
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Behind the eight-ball after a disastrous loss to New Zealand in the first of the group stage matches, Cummins' figures in the T20 World Cup so far make for troubling reading.
An expensive four-over spell yielding 0-46 against the Kiwis was the first sign of danger, but it was the following 1-36 against Sri Lanka that left Waugh troubled as to Cummins' place in the side.
The Test and ODI captain conceded 20 of those runs against Sri Lanka in the final over of the innings, prompting Waugh to ponder if another bowler would be better suited.
In comparison, both Josh Hazlewood (1-26) and Mitchell Starc (1-23) were more economical against Sri Lanka, while the home side were also missing spinner Adam Zampa due to COVID-19.
Cummins wasn't alone in drawing Waugh's ire, with team captain Aaron Finch also under fire for his batting, which yielded an unbeaten 31 from a whopping 41 balls.
“There’s players individually that just aren’t getting it right,” Waugh told RSN Breakfast.
“Pat Cummins with the ball, there’s a massive question mark over him heading into the next game. Aaron Finch’s innings was torturous. It really was. I don’t think he can open the innings in the next game. If he’s going to play, he should bat somewhere down the order.
“It just doesn’t feel right. They’re not a happy camp and they look like they’re lacking confidence. They’re so nervous. I don’t know what the answer is.
“I think they need to make some changes for the next game. I would bring Cameron Green in and I’d bring him in for Pat Cummins and I’d let Cam Green open the batting.
“That’s one change I would definitely make. I know it leaves your bowling a little short, but I think Cameron Green can bowl four overs as well as any of the other bowlers at the moment.”
Pat Cummins' T20 spot at risk amid lacklustre World Cup start
Waugh isn't the only knowledgable cricket mind to raise questions about Cummins' place in the soide.
Former player turned commentator Simon Doull said after the loss to New Zealand that Australia should consider replacing Cummins in the lineup.
He said it remained to be seen whether Cummins was truly suited to T20 cricket.
“I think Australia would be concerned,” Doull said.
“I’d be concerned with some of the parts of the bowling. I said the other night in the warm-up match, I feel personally that Pat Cummins shouldn’t be playing in this T20 side.
“I think Kane Richardson should be playing. I feel that he offers them a few variations that they just don’t have. It’s same-same. It’s pace on, pace on, pace on. Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins – they don’t have a really good change-up bowler.”
Stoinis hit the fastest 50 in Australian T20 history to spearhead the victory over Sri Lanka, blasting an unbeaten 59 from just 18 deliveries.
But as grand as the knock from Stoinis was, the match increased concerns about the form of skipper Finch in one of the scratchiest displays of his decorated career.
Finch was in struggletown early as he inched his way to four runs off his first 15 balls.
The 35-year-old was so bemused by one Lahiru Kumara delivery that he quipped to the umpire: "Happy to take any ideas if you know how to hit that".
There were 21 dot balls and no boundaries off the bat during the six-over power play as Australia crawled to 1-33.
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