No guarantees Cummins can play all five Tests: Langer
Even the world's No.1 Test bowler may need a rest during a crammed Ashes series with quality of talent waiting in the wings
Sam Ferris in London
12 August 2019, 05:02 PM AEST
Australia coach Justin Langer would like to see marathon man Pat Cummins play all five Ashes Tests but concedes it might not be "humanly possible", not even for the best bowler in the world.
Langer and Australia's selectors have made it crystal clear they will not be afraid to mix up the pace attack to suit the conditions at each of the five venues this campaign.
But Cummins, the world's No.1 ranked Test bowler, is perhaps Australia's most adaptable bowler and the first player picked regardless of the conditions.
The only thing preventing Cummins from playing the entire series would be his workload, according to Langer.
"In theory, you would like him to play all five Tests," Langer said at Lord's on Sunday.
"Those back-to-back Test matches depends a lot on how much he bowls.
"He bowled the most overs (of Australia's quicks) in the first Test (44.3 overs) but depends on how the game goes and how many overs he bowls, on how much batting there is in between (bowling), whether we've bowled last or we've bowled in the third innings of the game.
"All those things will come into it.
"You'd like him to play all five but I am not sure it's humanly possible."
Since Cummins returned to Test cricket in Ranchi in March 2017 after a five-and-a-half year absence, only England pair and Ashes rivals James Anderson (919.5) and Stuart Broad (861.1) have bowled more overs as a fast bowler than Cummins's 734.
But Anderson (seven Tests) and Broad (six) have played more Tests than Cummins in that span.
The 26-year-old has missed only two Tests – against Pakistan in October last year – since his return in India and has played every Test at home, including five Ashes Tests in 2017-19 and all six Tests last summer.
The right-armer captured 7-116 in the first Test and in doing so became the second fastest Australian paceman to 100 Test wickets behind Charles 'The Terror' Turner more than a century ago.
But should Cummins be in danger of injury from bowling too much, Langer is thrilled to have the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Starc waiting in the wings.
"He's the No 1 bowler in the world," Langer said.
"You also have Josh Hazlewood who has played 40-odd Tests and is a gun and Mitch Starc who took 10 wickets in his last Test match, and he's played (51) Tests as well.
"They're all there and we've talked about having the squad of fast bowlers."
It comes as no surprise that Cummins wants, and expects, to play all five Tests if fully fit, but he's not the only one in the squad with the same mentality.
"I think everyone would like to play all five," Cummins said.
"I think it's one of those things where it's just great that we've got that flexibility, so I think every game you're going to pick your best three (fast) bowlers you think are going to win that match.
"I guess we're lucky we've got six guys here who are a real chance of playing every game.
"Personally, I'll be hoping to play every game, and if I'm fully fit and bowling well I expect to, but it's good we've got plenty of bowlers here."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval