Swing to be king in Ashes: Cummins
Allan Border Medallist already looking at ways to take his game to greater heights during what's set to be a massive 2019
12 February 2019, 07:29 AM AEST
Pat Cummins is eyeing improvements in swing bowling as a key focus ahead of this year's Ashes series in the UK, after the 25-year-old on Monday night was crowned the 2019 Allan Border Medal winner.
Cummins overcame years of injury toil to confirm his status as Australia's premier Test paceman, edging out Nathan Lyon to secure the prestigious award.
The 25-year-old snared 44 wickets at 25.61 across all formats during a 12-month voting period which did not include his recent man-of-the-series performance against Sri Lanka.
Cummins has been mentored by pace legend Dennis Lillee throughout his career and said he had learned plenty from David Saker, whose sudden resignation as Australia's bowling coach last week came as a surprise.
Now the right-arm quick shapes as the key man in Australia's pace attack in a crucial year which includes the World Cup and Ashes series.
"There's definitely things I always try and improve every time I train," he said.
"Obviously swing is going to be quite a big factor (in England).
"A lot of the Tests here the ball doesn't really swing too much so getting over there, preparing well and trying to improve my swing bowling, that's definitely one thing.
"Someone like (Mitchell Starc) bowled 150kph all summer, so trying to maintain pace like that.
"Every time I play and bowl I feel like I learn a little bit more."
Once considered too fragile to forge a career in cricket's most gruelling format, Cummins – whose stunning 2011 debut in South Africa as a teenager was followed by years of injury struggles – has proven he belongs in Test cricket.
"If you play a lot of cricket and you get injured, you can deal with that," he said.
"This year I had a few months off with a back issue but I'd played so much cricket beforehand that I knew those big worries of the past were hopefully behind me for a while.
"I just had a lot of confidence and knew I'd come back bowling well, get back in the side and all things going well, have a good summer like I did the previous year.
"Just having the ability to look in the diary ahead and plan out tours in my head, and just worry about bowling well as opposed to if I'm going to be in the side or if I'm going to be fit enough."
Lyon was named Test player of the year, Marcus Stoinis took out the ODI award and Glenn Maxwell claimed T20 honours.
2019 Allan Border Medal voting Pat Cummins - 156 votes Nathan Lyon - 150 Aaron Finch - 146 Marcus Stoinis, Usman Khawaja - 102 Andrew Tye - 85