Vodafone Men's Ashes
Timeline to the top: How Cummins became Test captain
From a stunning debut to years in the wilderness, look back on the journey of Pat Cummins from western Sydney to the top of Australian cricket
26 November 2021, 03:45 PM AEST
8 May 1993: Born in Sydney, the son of Peter and Maria Cummins. Grows up near the Blue Mountains in western Sydney with his two brothers and two sisters. Begins playing cricket at the Glenbrook Blaxland Cricket Club before moving to Penrith in Sydney’s Premier competition.
3 Jan 2010: Cummins represents NSW at the National Under-17 Championships and later that year, plays Under-19 cricket for his state at the age of just 17. He also makes his Future's League debut for NSW in late 2010.
20 Jan 2011: Still just 17, Cummins makes his senior state debut after just five second XI matches for NSW. In a Big Bash game against Tasmania in Sydney, he impresses by taking three wickets and pushing the speed gun past the 140km/h mark. He goes on to play six games in the tournament, including the final, and is the equal-leading wicket-taker with 11, alongside a young off-spinner from South Australia named Nathan Lyon.
13 Feb 2011: His Big Bash form earns him a List A debut for NSW against Queensland at North Sydney Oval, where he returns figures of 0-25 from six overs.
3 Mar 2011: A little more than a year after playing Under-17 cricket for his state, Cummins makes his first-class debut in a Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania. He plays NSW's final three matches of the season, including the Shield final in Hobart, where he bowls 65 overs for the match. In a disappointing summer that sees Australia relinquish the Ashes urn on home soil for the first time in a quarter-of-a century, Cummins is quickly hailed as a player to watch having shaken up some of the best domestic batters in the country.
23 May 2011: Cummins is ruled out of Australia A's tour of Zimbabwe due to a back injury. National selector Greg Chappell notes that Cummins's body is still a few years away from fully maturing but flags the right-armer is good enough to play at the highest level in the intervening years.
7 Jun 2011: Cummins earns one of 25 Cricket Australia contracts, just a month after his 18th birthday. Chief selector Andrew Hilditch labels Cummins "an exceptional talent" and says "we're really all of the view that he's a potential champion for Australia and we're going to encourage that and look after him".
28 Sep 2011: While in South Africa playing for NSW in the T20 Champions League, Cummins is called into Australia's ODI and T20 squads for the upcoming matches against the Proteas.
13 Oct 2011: Cummins makes his international debut in Cape Town in the first T20I, taking 3-25 from four overs. Captain Cameron White later credits the 18-year-old as the difference in Australia's narrow win. He plays five of the six white-ball games on the tour, leading all bowlers by taking 10 wickets.
17 Oct 2011: After two matches of the T20 series, he is named in Australia's squad for the two-Test series that follows, despite having played just three first-class matches. Hilditch says: "He's certainly in our view one of the most exciting prospects that have come along for some time. Certainly, if we're going to get back to the top of Test cricket, I would imagine he's going to play a big role."
17 Nov 2011: After Australia's record-breaking loss in the first Test in Cape Town, Cummins is named to make his debut in place of the injured Ryan Harris and is handed his Baggy Green by former skipper, Ricky Ponting. Aged just 18 years and 193 days, Cummins is the second-youngest man to play Test cricket for Australia behind Ian Craig in 1953. The match at the Wanderers is just his fourth at first-class level.
21 Nov 2011: With Australia eight wickets down and 18 runs away from victory, Cummins strides to the crease and calmly clubs two boundaries to finish on 13 not out, completing a fairy tale debut that earns him the player of the match award. Having shared the new ball on the opening morning and removed Hashim Amla for his first Test wicket, Cummins turns the match with a stunning performance in the second innings, taking 6-79 including the wickets of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. His undoubted talent and composure under immense pressure sees new coach Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, compare him to Dale Steyn, although he cautions the teenager will need to be managed as his career develops.
24 Nov 2011: Cummins reveals he played through the pain of a serious heel injury during his debut and is sidelined for the entire 2011-12 home summer. Incredibly, he makes his return to cricket – his first game since the Johannesburg Test – for Australia's Under 19 side in April, 2012.
28 Oct 2012: Back in South Africa, Cummins is part of the Sydney Sixers side that wins that year's T20 Champions League title having helped steer Australia into the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup a month earlier. However, scans upon his return to Australia reveal a stress fracture in his back, ruling him out of the home summer for the second year in a row.
19 Aug 2013: Having returned to cricket with a handful of matches for Australia A, Cummins is again ruled out of the entire international home summer after a recurrence of the stress injury in his back. It total, he plays just three games of cricket in the 15 months between the end of the Champions League in October 2012 and his return to the Big Bash in January 2014. During the lay-off, Cummins works for the first time with fast-bowling legend Dennis Lillee, whom he credits with helping to re-shape his action and turn his career around.
29 Mar 2015: Having enjoyed a reasonably injury-free run in 2014 as he focuses on short-form cricket, Cummins is part of Australia’s squad that wins the ODI World Cup at the MCG. The right-armer plays just four games for the tournament and is replaced by Josh Hazlewood for the knockout stage.
13 July 2015: When Ryan Harris is a shock late withdrawal from Australia's Ashes squad, Cummins is called in as a replacement despite not having played first-class cricket in almost two years. He expected to make his Test comeback for the final game of the series at The Oval but is overlooked in favour of Peter Siddle. "I was pretty dirty when I didn't get picked," he told cricket.com.au recently. "They picked Sidds who probably deserved the spot more than me. But I remember being pretty annoyed because I knew how fickle my injuries were."
24 Sep 2015: In the ODIs against England that follow the Tests, Cummins suffers another serious back injury and for the fourth time in five years, is ruled out of the home summer.
7 Oct 2016: Having not played a game for more than a year, Cummins returns for NSW in the One-Day Cup, helping them win the title. Again, focused primarily on short-form cricket, he enjoys a successful summer for Australia and in the Big Bash, playing 25 matches in four-and-a-half months as he builds towards a return to first-class cricket.
7 Mar 2017: A long, slow process back to red-ball cricket results in a return to the Sheffield Shield for the first time in six years. Cummins takes eight wickets in 36 overs against South Australia at the SCG and NSW medical staff plan for him to have a few weeks rest as they look to carefully manage his return.
11 Mar 2017: Cummins earns a shock recall to Australia’s Test squad for their tour of India, replacing the injured Mitchell Starc for the final two Tests of the series. Despite apprehension from medical staff about rushing him back too soon, Cummins plays the third and fourth Tests, his first in the Baggy Green since that memorable debut five-and-a-half years earlier. He bowls 79 overs in two weeks and, having come through unscathed, stays in India for the Indian Premier League that follows. From the point of his recall until his elevation to the Test captaincy, Cummins misses just two of Australia's next 33 Tests.
8 Jan 2018: Cummins helps Australia complete a 4-0 Ashes demolition of England at the SCG. The right-armer plays all five Tests in seven weeks and leads all bowlers with 23 wickets from almost 200 overs.
9 Aug 2018: Having missed that year's IPL due to another back injury, Cummins is also ruled out of the away Test tour against Pakistan as he continues his recovery.
28 Sep 2018: Cummins is revealed as not being one of six players identified as a potential leader of the Australian side as part of a process championed by coach Justin Langer. After Australia's top players held a ballot to identify leaders within the extended group, the top six of Tim Paine, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh were then asked to present their credentials to senior coaching staff and administrators. Hazlewood and Marsh are named co vice-captains of the Test side as a result.
22 Jan 2019: Cummins is named as one of Australia's two vice-captains for the Tests against Sri Lanka, joining Travis Head as deputy to skipper Tim Paine.
11 Feb 2019: Cummins wins the Allan Border Medal as Australia's most outstanding male cricketer from the previous 12 months.
17 Feb 2019: Cummins moves to No.1 in the ICC's Test bowling rankings, the first Australian to reach the top since Glenn McGrath in 2006. It comes after he plays all six Tests in the 2018-19 summer, including career best figures of 6-29 in the second-innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.
6 Aug 2019: In just his 21st Test match, Cummins takes his 100th career wicket when he removes Jonny Bairstow at Edgbaston to start the 2019 Ashes. Since World War II, no Australian bowler has reached the milestone faster. Cummins leads the pace attack for all five Tests as Australia retain the Ashes urn on UK soil for the first time since 2001, his series highlighted by a wonder ball to dismiss Joe Root at Old Trafford.
19 Dec 2019: Cummins is bought for $3.1m by Kolkata in the Indian Premier League auction, the most expensive purchase for an overseas player in the tournament's history.
15 Jan 2020: Cummins is named Test Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council.
18 Aug 2020: The leadership credentials of Cummins are underscored when he is named Australia's sole vice-captain for their white-ball tour of England. In November, Head is removed as vice-captain of the Test team and Cummins takes on the role of Paine's deputy alone.
15 Feb 2021: With speculation increasing about who will become Australia's next Test skipper, Cummins makes his captaincy debut for NSW in a Marsh One-Day Cup game in Sydney, which the Blues win. NSW coach Phil Jaques says: "We have no doubt he'll prove to be a fantastic leader and I know he will also be a great role model for all Blues players. Captaining NSW in these matches is a really good opportunity for Pat to not only demonstrate how good a leader he is, but it's a chance to show he also has the tactical nous to be a really good captain."
15 Nov 2021: Cummins is part of the Australian team that wins the men's T20 World Cup for the first time, taking five wickets at an economy rate of 7.37 for the tournament.
26 Nov 2021: Cummins is named Australia's 47th Test captain following the shock resignation of Tim Paine a week earlier. The 28-year-old becomes the first Australian frontline front bowler to take on the role on a full-time basis in 144 years of Test cricket.
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A v England Lions, Brisbane
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium