He is ready to be “creative” and “brave” depending on what conditions emerge
A combination of England’s weak batting, some well-grassed pitches and Australia’s bowling strength led to some brief stints in the field during the recent Ashes – five times England were bowled out in under 70 overs.
While ensuring the bowlers were rarely overworked it also meant that as captain Cummins did not often have to depart from the basics, although he did come in for some criticism for his declaration in Sydney when England then survived nine down on the final day.
“It throws up a different challenge to the cricket we’ve grown up used to playing in Australia,” he said. “There’s probably going to be times where I’ll have to be more creative, try a few different things, be brave, so I’m excited for that challenge.
“We don’t really know what to expect over there. Subcontinent Tests can be played quickly or slowly, but think for a lot of this group, we haven’t played a lot of cricket overseas, so if we want to be No. 1 in the world we have to have a really good showing on these subcontinent tours.”
Cummins had noted the pace numbers of the recent Tests played in Pakistan and Australia would certainly feel well-placed in conditions that aided the quicks. There has been a focus on reverse swing during the pre-tour camp in Melbourne with the nature of the Ashes series meaning it was rarely a major factor.
“It’s made us not to expect to have a just a really spin-friendly subcontinent conditions that perhaps we’ve experienced in past Indian or Sri Lanka tours,” he said. “Seems like the pace bowlers have done quite well and they’ve got a really strong pace-bowling line-up. We feel like squad we have covers all areas and we are really comfortable if we need extra spinners or extra pace bowlers.”
“A lot of time the ball reverse swings so we didn’t really experience it this summer with grassy wickets, short games, whereas over there it can be a real weapon so trying to upskill that. We haven’t bowled a lot of reverse swing in the last year or so but it’s a huge factor going into the subcontinent.”
“There’s lots of information that I’ll be trying to sift through and get help from,” Cummins said. “Feel lucky to have someone like Smithy who has not only captained in India but also played quite a bit on the subcontinent.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo