CRICKET AUSTRALIA PAKISTAN Cummins
Pat Cummins' effectiveness with the old ball is denying him the new one, with statistics showing those campaigning for the world No.1's promotion may be off the mark.
The brilliant quick (3-60) inspired Australia's rally on day one of the Gabba Test against Pakistan, only missing out on a fourth wicket thanks to a dropped chance in the penultimate over of the day.
But he had to wait until the ninth over to get the ball in his hands, with Josh Hazlewood (2-46) and Mitchell Starc (4-54) the preferred new ball pair as Pakistan were bowled out for 240.
Former Australian spearhead Brett Lee thinks Cummins' gentle nature is the reason he hasn't put his foot down and demanded a promotion, but statistics show the current pecking order has its merits.
CricVic figures show Cummins' Test average as a first-change bowler is only 3.81 worse than as an opener, far more impressive than either Hazlewood (12.44) and Starc (11.36).
Hazlewood and Cummins both agreed that played into their thinking.
"I think anyone can do anything really," Hazlewood said.
"But he's such a good first change bowler - a good bowler at any time of the day - and it probably works against him in that regard."
With Hazlewood cramping late in the day, Cummins took the second new ball and produced a peach to dismiss set batsman Asad Shafiq and expose the tail.
Lee wants to see that more often, adamant Cummins deserves top billing over Starc.
"He's No.1 (in the world Test rankings) and as a gentle guy off the field he won't push his case forward," Lee said on Fox Cricket commentary.
"He's content to say 'wherever you want to put me I'll do it'.
"I think he's earnt that right to put his hand up and say 'OK skip, I want that new ball'.
Cummins said he might get the chance throughout the summer but understood Starc's appeal.
"As a first change bowler I've always done a pretty god job and I don't mind that role and we know if Starcy gets a couple to swing up front he can take a couple of wickets," he told Fox Cricket.
"It's one of those things. It might be fluid throughout the summer who takes the new ball."