Indian Premier League 2020
Cummins searching for complete game after rocky start
It hasn't gone exactly to plan with the ball but Aussie pace ace feels he is getting closer to a breakout performance
24 October 2020, 08:30 AM AEST
Pat Cummins is on the verge of posting an unwanted century in the Indian Premier League.
The Kolkata Knight Riders spearhead is averaging 98.66 with the ball in the IPL this season, having taken three wickets in 10 matches for the powerhouse franchise that paid $3.1 million at last year's player auction for his services.
But despite the lean trot, Cummins is conceding a respectable 8.22 runs per over for a fast bowler who bowls in the first six Powerplay overs when the field is up, and at the end of an innings when opposition batters are trying to hit every ball to the boundary.
It is why the paceman says he is "relatively happy" with how he's bowling in his first IPL stint since 2017 with the Delhi Capitals.
"I feel like my rhythm and the ball is coming out quite nicely – I just haven't got the wickets, which sometimes can happen in this format," Cummins said on cricket.com.au's The Unplayable Podcast.
"Some days you bowl well and don't take a wicket and then on others you bowl poorly and take three or four. It's just the nature of the game.
"I feel like I haven't put together a complete game yet. There's always a couple of balls every game that you wish you could have back.
"But each game I feel like I'm getting a little bit better.
"As a whole I've been really happy."
Cummins endured a mixed start to the 2020 season, which is based in the UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his first outing in purple and gold, the 27-year-old conceded 0-49 from three overs against Mumbai, before taking a combined 2-32 from seven overs in his next two games.
But another spell of 0-49 followed, this time against his former franchise Delhi, to put extra pressure on the tournament's highest-paid overseas player.
In his next six games he conceded more than 7.5 runs per over just twice as KKR recorded three wins to take their season tally to five wins and as many losses to sit in fourth place on the ladder.
While he says all elite cricketers apply pressure on themselves to perform, Cummins believes a part of him is feeling the expectation that comes with his price tag.
"I'd say no but of course there probably is, deep down," Cummins said when asked if he felt added expectation because of his salary.
"The staff and players here have been brilliant in identifying that this is a long tournament.
"They've been great but of course it's something I want to do well.
"I've only played a couple of IPL seasons and feel like I haven't had that big breakout season or few games, so (I am) really keen to make an impact.
"I feel like bits and pieces are coming together, so I just need that roll of a couple of good games."
While Cummins' T20 bowling is making gradual improvements, his T20 batting has gone to a new level.
The right-hander worked hard on his attacking stroke play during his time with NSW this preseason, having been focused on defence in Australia's Test team.
Those nets sessions spent slogging paid off in the return leg against Mumbai, when he scored his maiden T20 half-century – an unbeaten 53 from 36 balls with five fours and two sixes.
"The last few years I've been playing a lot of Test matches so I feel like I've turned into a bit of a blocker and at times I've lost my swing (when) trying to hit the ball hard," he said.
"That was really my focus for a few months, just trying to get back to swinging the bat a bit harder and finding a shape.
"Fortunately, it's come off with a few runs.
"I feel like the last couple of years I've been blocking the swinging ball and trying to survive, so it's good to try and hit some fours and sixes."