Legendary Australia skipper Allan Border feels Pat Cummins "grossly under-bowled himself" in the second Border Gavaskar Trophy Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here while pointing out how the fast-bowler should have got himself in to bowl more in the first innings.
Cummins, the current Australia Test captain, bowled 13 overs in the first innings as the visitors took a tiny one-run lead. But in defence of 115 against India after shockingly being bowled out for 113 in their second innings, Cummins didn't even take the new ball, and moreover, didn't bowl at all as Australia slumped to a six-wicket loss inside three days to be 2-0 behind in the four-match series.
"To me, the fast bowler, it's always fraught with danger. I thought Pat grossly under-bowled himself in that Test match. There were opportunities when things were starting to go stray, particularly in the Indian first innings when we had them on the ropes and they formed a good partnership."
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"A couple of blasts from him running in and bowling some short stuff for two or three overs, I think maybe that's when the batsman (captain) will have seen it," said Border on SENQ's Pat & Heals show.
Before coming to the Test tour of India, Cummins had lost just one game in his Test captaincy career. After losing the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in Nagpur and New Delhi, that number has gone up to three.
Cummins himself has been far from his best bowling self, picking only three wickets till now. Border, who played 156 Tests for Australia and 93 as captain, suggested Cummins is struggling in his first real test as the Test captain.
"There are other guys out on the field I suppose who could go to the captain and say, 'mate, why don't you have a bowl'?. But I just thought this is Pat's first real test as a captain, the rest has been plain sailing, you go to the sub-continent and all of a sudden you get tested out in all sorts of areas."
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"He's worried about lots of different things, he forgot about himself bowling I think. That's what can happen in those situations when your premier fast bowler is your captain."
Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy also shared similar sentiments. "Then the mental stress that's involved in getting your field right, he didn't seem to have that in the last innings."
"He still had men on the boundary instead of extra catchers around the bat...that takes a lot of mind power to keep it all together thinking about that and (bowling changes)."
At the same time, Border remarked he had sympathy for Cummins doing the captaincy job in some of the toughest conditions in the game. "There is a lot going on, even if you're the captain in those situations and you're a batsman."
"People don't really appreciate how tough it is, it's a really different place to play the game in the sub-continent. You've got to have your wits about you, that's for sure when it's not going right and it's going south, it goes south very quickly."
What will haunt Australia more is their absolute lack of application in the second innings on Day Three, with six batters, including Cummins, dismissed while playing the sweep. Border thinks there's no point in slamming the team about the batting performance in the second innings and wants the side to make sure it doesn't get repeated in the series.
"It's absolutely pointless going into the dressing room and throwing a major tantrum after a performance like that. Everyone knows how bad they've played you've probably got to get the circle of truth going, haven't you, over a few beers and start talking it through about what the hell just happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again. A little bit of truth serum comes out and away you go and hopefully you can make amends (next game)."
Cummins has flown home to Sydney due to personal reasons. But he is expected to re-join the Australia Test squad ahead of the third game at Holkar Stadium in Indore, starting from March 1.