Gillette T20 INTL Series v Sri Lanka
Cummins refocuses on T20s after 'exhausting' Ashes
Pace spearhead reflects on Australia's successful Ashes campaign and looks ahead to a pivotal 12 months of T20 cricket leading up to the World Cup
30 September 2019, 03:40 PM AEST
Having gone where few Test bowlers have ever gone in a herculean surge to help retain the Ashes, Pat Cummins now wants to do the same in the shortest format as he readjusts his radar towards the only major trophy that has eluded Australia’s male cricketers.
The world's No.1 ranked fast bowler was "wrecked" after a prolific Ashes tour that yielded 29 wickets and saw him send down the most overs by an Australian fast bowler in a Test series since the turn of the century.
While he has returned to Australia fatigued after a marathon winter that also saw him play all 10 of Australia's World Cup games, Cummins remains free of the injuries that forced a six-year gap between his first and second Tests.
The 26-year-old admits he's never been more tired before a Test match than he was in the lead-up to the Ashes series finale at The Oval, but he pushed through exhaustion and sent down nearly 100 overs in the final 11 days of the tour in a bid to secure a series victory that Australia would eventually fall short of.
Aside from chopping up wood to put on the fireplace at his property in country NSW, the man who has played all but two of Australia's past 26 Tests has enjoyed exerting as little energy as possible during a rare, well-earned breather.
"It was a really tense series, so it felt like every day's play was quite exhausting," Cummins told cricket.com.au. "I felt like I needed a break.
"Those last two weeks I bowled close to 100 overs. That was pretty taxing. But I’ve had a good week off, so feeling pretty good now."
A far different challenge awaits Cummins ahead of next summer’s 2020 T20 World Cup on home soil.
Five-time ODI world champions, Australia have not been able to replicate their success in the shortest format, with a runners-up finish to England in 2010 their best result at the tournament in seven attempts.
Back-to-back series to kick off the summer against Sri Lanka and Pakistan will begin a stretch of 21 T20 games between now and Australia’s first World Cup game in 12 months’ time.
"The last year has been a real one-day focus leading into the (50-over) World Cup. I think we'll see a shift," said Cummins.
"We've got 20-odd games before that T20 World Cup. Personally I want to be in that World Cup squad, so I want to play as many of those games as possible.
"There’s a lot I want to work on in T20 cricket, so it's good there's more opportunity now to concentrate on that with six games in a row (to start the summer). I don't feel like I've had that in a long time."
Able to hit speeds few bowlers in the world can match, Cummins shapes as a major figure in Australia's bid to end their hoodoo.
The right-armer has an enviable international T20 record, collecting 25 scalps at 21 in 20 games.
Yet the speedster is eager to refamiliarise himself with the skills required for a format he, along with fellow Test quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, have had little exposure to in recent years.
Cummins has played just two international T20s since his return to the Test team two-and-a-half years ago in India, with national selectors wary of burning out their prized fast-bowling asset.
"I've been bowling heaps so I feel like my rhythm is there, it's just about trying to work on yorkers, slower balls and different field placements I haven’t tried since the (ODI) World Cup," explained Cummins.
"Hopefully it doesn't take too long to work on that. Then it's back into red ball (cricket) after that.
"We've got six T20s all in a row, so I feel like you can put more attention into that rather than a quick in-and-out series."
It's expected Cummins, along with the other quicks vying to join him for the opening Domain Test of the summer against Pakistan, will return to first-class cricket for the opening round of the Marsh Sheffield Shield on October 10.