A number of commentators have questioned why Pat Cummins stayed on the field on the final day of Australia's victory over the West Indies in the first Test when he was clearly struggling with a calf complaint. The Aussie skipper didn't bowl on day five on Sunday, but remained out in the field as Australia secured a 164-run win to retain the Frank Worrell trophy.
There were concerning scenes with the second Test starting on Thursday as Cummins didn't break into anything more than a leisurely jog while chasing a number of balls to the boundary. He then had to bend down sharply to prevent one ball from reaching the rope.
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“I don’t think he’s guaranteed to play in Adelaide,” Brendan Julian said during commentary for Fox Sports. “Why risk him out there in the field then? If he’s not going to bowl, why risk him?
“If he’s a bit ginger, then I don’t understand why he’s got to be in the field then. I wouldn’t be risking it.”
Mark Waugh also said it was “a bit strange” to see considering the second Test is just four days away. The Aussies will travel to Adelaide on Monday for the day-night Test and are considering having at least two fresh bowlers join them there.
Speaking after the match, Cummins insisted he would be right and there was no cause for concern. "I was pain free," he said. "Luckily we were in a good position so we could take the liberties (of not bowling)."
Cummins admitted Australia's long summer ahead, with one more Test against the Windies before three against South Africa and a tour of India in February, will come into the equation when it is decided if he played in Adelaide. "It was definitely the thought process the last couple of days," Cummins said.
"I don't really want to turn a one week injury into a three or four-week injury and you potentially miss the summer. So we'll weigh all that up. But I felt pretty comfortable out there. Give it a few days. It already feels pretty good. Our physio might be less optimistic but I think I'll be fine. I'm sure I'll have running and a bit of bowling to make sure I'm right."
Steve Smith took over the captaincy duties when Cummins was off the filed for brief periods in the first Test. He would seemingly be in line to take the reins if Cummins misses out in Adelaide.
"I guess (normally) I'll have a similar prep to Josh (Hazlewood) and (Mitchell) Starc which would be maybe a light bowl the day before," Cummins said. "Now might be a bit different. Got to probably prove myself - have at least one bowl.
"Every Test match is always slightly different prep. I'm not too bothered. Hopefully I pass the fitness test and I'm good to go."
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) December 4, 2022
I know Pat Cummins is Captain but if he's not going to bowl why would he be in the side fielding?
— Naim (@goldandbrown4) December 4, 2022
If you're going off his movements (or lack of) in the field today, you'd have Pat Cummins at fairly long odds to play the second test in Adelaide. Would be a blow for S.A cricket lovers missing out on the Australian captain for a second straight year.
— Nathan Watson (@N_Watson_) December 4, 2022
— Mitch Messer (@mitchmess) December 4, 2022
Pat Cummins is a lot more injured than what he’s claiming to be. Needs to come off the field. A liability out there. #AUSvsWI
— Ashlee (@_itsashleeee_) December 4, 2022
Nathan Lyon makes history as Aussies thrash Windies
Meanwhile, Nathan Lyon has become Test cricket's second-most prolific off-spinner behind Muttiah Muralitharan after claiming six wickets on the final day in Perth. Lyon's fourth-innings figures of 6-128 helped Australia bowl the tourists out for 333 in pursuit of 498 for victory.
Travis Head also claimed two wickets in the victory, including ending an 82-run seventh-wicket stand that had frustrated Australia when he bowled Alzarri Joseph for 43. Lyon then had Roston Chase (55) caught in the deep and bowled No.11 Kemar Roach next ball to cap his heroics.
The six-wicket haul took him past Ravichandran Ashwin (442 wickets) and into eighth position among Test wicket-takers overall with 446. Only Sri Lankan legend Muralitharan sits above the pair as the most successful off-spinner in the game, with an untouchable 800 wickets to his name.
"He's got plenty of different tricks now," Cummins said of Lyon. "You saw him bowl over the wicket, around the wicket a lot.
"You felt like he could beat (the batsmen) on the outside of the bat, bring bat pad into play. He just feels like he's got a few different ways he can get a batter out, and he's happier to chop and change between them as opposed to earlier in his career."
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