Australia's Pat Cummins directs his field during play on the third day of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at The Oval in London on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB
Australia's Pat Cummins directs his field during play on the third day of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at The Oval in London on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB

‘If I’m Pat, I’m demanding the new ball’

Brett Lee has implored Australia to give Pat Cummins the new ball and let him open the bowling for the first time on home soil against Pakistan.

 

Cummins started the innings for most of the Ashes matches in England, but bowled first-change in the only Test he played alongside Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, in Manchester.

 

The 26-year-old is yet to be handed the new Kookaburra in Australian conditions, having bowled first-change behind that pair for the past two summers.

 

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But after rising to become the world's top-ranked bowler earlier this year, Cummins should open the bowling in the first Test at the Gabba, Lee says, regardless of whether Starc and Hazlewood are both in the side.

 

"Pat Cummins has to get the new ball, he must get the new ball," Lee said.

 

"Don't bowl him first-change. Sure, he can do it. But don't waste him.

 

"I don't know if he's been unfairly targeted as a guy who can play a number of roles. That's been to his detriment I think.

 

Lee said Cummins had earned the right to take the new ball.

 

"Yes, we've got guys like Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc who can also bowl with the new ball," he said.

 

"But I think you've got to pick who you believe is the best chance of taking a wicket.

 

"Worry about your first change when you have them three or four down."

 

Cummins is now Australia's undisputed strike weapon of Australia's bowling attack.

 

He has topped the wicket-taking charts for Australia's quicks in every full series he has played since his return from long injury absences in 2017.

 

His average of 21.45 is also the third-best of all time for Aussies who have taken 100 Test wickets.

 

Lee himself was one of Australia's most successful new-ball bowlers, with his 310 scalps the third-highest of all Australian quicks.

 

After starting as a first-change bowler behind Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming on debut, Lee opened the bowling by his fourth Test and held onto the mantle for most of his career.

 

"He (Cummins) is a good team man, but you've also got to go 'hang on, if I had a choice I would rather get the new ball'," Lee said.

 

Brett Lee was one of Australia’s greatest quick bowlers.
Brett Lee was one of Australia’s greatest quick bowlers.

"If I am Pat Cummins I am saying: 'I want that new ball. I want choice of ends.

 

"I've shown what I can do through the Ashes, I've shown what I could do last summer'.

 

"You can't do that when you're 18. But Pat Cummins, it's not his first rodeo ... He's the vice-captain."