Australian cricketer Pat Cummins to lead Aussie team in crisis

Written by ByStaff Writer, CNN Nothing says “you’re safe at home” like bawling at your family on national television, but Pat Cummins is finding that out the hard way. Last night, an ITV news…

Australian cricketer Pat Cummins to lead Aussie team in crisis

Written by ByStaff Writer, CNN

Nothing says “you’re safe at home” like bawling at your family on national television, but Pat Cummins is finding that out the hard way.

Last night, an ITV news broadcast showed the tearful Australian fast bowler being comforted by his father. The softly spoken 24-year-old sportsman was one of the names implicated in a World Cup-betting scandal.

He is the latest in a string of disgraced Australian cricketers who have admitted to sending explicit images of themselves to women.

Although Cummins has denied any wrongdoing, he was “relieved” to see his father, Ken, on camera last night. His mother, Melissa, told The Australian newspaper she worried her son had become isolated after his out of the bag performance at a one-day game against England last weekend.

Can he lead a reborn Australian cricket team?

Cummins played his first test match in 2011 — aged just 18 — and has yet to bow out.

He took 10 wickets in his debut match against Pakistan. Since then, he has made a clean break from the domestic Twenty20 competition, smashing home century after century of runs.

In five matches so far in the ongoing Asia Cup, Cummins has taken 11 wickets.

At international level, he has recovered from two years out injured, and has a reputation for spunk, reckons Michael Vatikiotis of Futuresport.com, a cricket news website

“If you think about Cummins as just a fast bowler he’s really good at making quick runs in the middle,” Vatikiotis says. “But if you think about him as a leader he’s got some serious potential.”

Cummins is one of a number of young quicks who has been dubbed Australia’s new spearhead, and he has the brains and brawn to bring in Virat Kohli’s heavy-hitting side, says Vatikiotis.

In March this year, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson announced his retirement when he announced that he would never be able to walk again after a bike accident. “They say that if we can repair him, so can Australia,” Cummins told The Australian.

“To have someone of Kane’s quality and understanding of the game coming out saying that, it’s almost like a benchmark or a reminder that there’s still a lot of talent to get back to their level,” he adds.

Former Australian Test captain Michael Clarke

Cummins, who was recently cleared to play for Australia in India, but will miss the tournament because of a shoulder injury, is expected to have a say in the hosts’ chances of qualifying for the next World Cup, says UK-based sports writer Neil Barlow.

“Their success against Australia was pretty shaky during the summer. Kohli’s men were top of the world when they toured Australia, and since then New Zealand, England and then West Indies have come through and delivered a good challenge,” Barlow told CNN.

“(But) Cricket Australia is making moves to improve their management of players who attract bad headlines. KJ Souza will be gone, Mickey Arthur is gone, and it’s an attempt to end this track record of Australian cricket being a rolling casino. So even a great side won’t be able to survive if they keep employing people who just get on the wrong side of the cricket match.”

Barlow is also intrigued by Cummins’ role as captain, adding: “If the greatest hitters of the fastest bowlers win your matches then you’re going to find a lot of cricket having to be played outside the existing rules.”

Cummins has been in denial about the allegations — “I don’t read the papers” he told The Australian — but that’s little comfort to his parents, who watched his first test match on the little TV in the corner of the local pub.

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