Brothers face battle with loss of key players for new season
CRAIG Cumming is a cricketer who produces his best when it is needed most.
So we can expect him to have a phenomenal season in the Ipswich and West Moreton Division One competition this summer.
Because it looks as though his team will be heavily dependent on its new skipper.
Brothers' summer of 2014-15 marked a fall in their performances of recent previous seasons, missing out on finals in the premier comp.
Now the loss of five experienced players from last summer means it will be a battle to be considered among the trophy contenders.
Brothers will be without recent skipper, wicket-keeper and leading batsman Luke Dixon indefinitely while Cumming is facing six weeks out following a hernia operation.
Dixon and his wife are expecting the arrival of a baby in a month.
His business is taking up time and they have just moved further away from Ipswich, on the north side of Brisbane, so cricket has slipped down the list of priorities.
But Dixon said he would not be surprised if he starts getting itchy feet and decides to play later in the season. Cumming hopes only to miss three rounds of cricket with his recovery.
But after being hindered by a hamstring injury last season, he was putting on a brave face.
"You can't do anything about it," he said. "I'm lucky it's happened now, because I should only miss three games with our bye and a couple of breaks."
Brothers have also lost the services of Michael Ridgewell, Alex Bonner, Tim Wichura and Matthew Fairhurst for the coming season, while veteran fast bowler Mark Sharrad will start the season as a batsman only as he rehabilitates a hip injury.
Sharrad made 54 not out before retiring Brothers' recent warm-up match against Rockhampton Brothers.
It means promoted young fast bowlers Dylan Schoenfisch and Johnathon Bill will have to perform from the start, while the return of former representative spinner Brendan Alcorn is also a boost.
"We need some young fellas to step up," Cumming said.
But if anyone thinks it means Cumming will fall back onto the old "rebuilding" cliché for Brothers this season, they don't know him very well.
Cumming is as competitive as they come and will still be looking for wins every time his team takes the field.
"You don't go into games looking to lose," Cumming said.
"You're always out there to win.
"We've got a few old fellas there to help the young fellas along.
"I think we'll go alright so long as everyone gives 100 percent commitment. I won't say we're going to win premierships but I think we'll give it a good shake."
The IWMCA competition begins this weekend with full rounds of one-day matches both Saturday and Sunday.