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Cummins ready to be unleashed: Dizzy

Former Test quick says right-armer is the ideal replacement for Mitchell Starc

Former Test quick Jason Gillespie says Australia have got nothing to lose by unleashing speedster Pat Cummins on India's batsmen in the third Test.

Cummins was rushed to the subcontinent over the weekend following the series-ending injury to spearhead Mitchell Starc and Gillespie expects the 23-year-old to be thrown straight into the XI for his first Test in more than five years.

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While Cummins is undoubtedly one of Australia's best bowlers when fit, his recall has raised some eyebrows given his long-awaited return to Sheffield Shield cricket last week - he took eight wickets in his first Shield match in almost six years - was his only first-class appearance since the 2015 Ashes tour.

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But Gillespie says Cummins is ready to play Test cricket again and while Jackson Bird has been with the squad throughout the tour, he believes NSW speedster is better equipped the fill the sizeable gap left by Starc's departure.

"I don't see what Australia have got to lose by playing him," Gillespie told cricket.com.au.

"He's that point of difference and it could be similar to the Josh Hazlewood-Mitchell Starc combination. They complement each other well and if Cummins does get the nod, he could be the x-factor much like Mitchell Starc is.

"The selectors aren't taking him over there for work experience. They've flown him over to play. I can't see them taking him over just to carry the drinks.

"As we've see in the first few Test matches, the fast bowlers aren't being overworked.

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"If they need someone to bowl long spells on flat wickets, they've got Jackson Bird over there who could do that role.

"But I think on those pretty benign wickets, the point of difference for Pat compared to Jackson Bird is that he bowls consistently 10 kilometres-an-hour quicker. I think Jackson Bird would do a commendable job, but I think the selectors will go with Pat.

"It's the extra pace that I think could potentially unsettle the Indian batsman."

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There aren't many former players who can empathise with Cummins and his horror run with injury as much as Gillespie, whose own 71-Test career was punctuated by several long spells on the sidelines, particularly early in his career.

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The right-armer missed a total of 40 Test matches between his debut in 1996 until he was dropped during the 2005 Ashes, and famously missed the 2003 World Cup due to an Achilles problem.

Australia has played a total of 64 Test matches since Cummins played his one and only Test in November 2011 and Gillespie says his potential return to the Baggy Green is just reward for hard work.

"I know first-hand what it's like to spend time on the sidelines with injury," Gillespie said. "It's a hard road and Pat has worked incredibly hard to get back playing.

"He's just played his first game for NSW in six years; the poor lad, he's just a kid who just wants to play as much cricket as possible.

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"And when your body isn't allowing you to do that, it can be very frustrating.

"So to see him unleashed and potentially go straight into the Test side is an exciting prospect for Australians fans."

The third Test in Ranchi begins on Thursday with the four-match series locked at 1-1.

Test Squads


India (for third and fourth Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.


Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade


Australia's schedule in India


Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune - Australia won by 333 runs.


Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru - India won by 75 runs.


Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi


Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala