SPORT

Ashes Spearhead Pat Cummins Often Has No Idea What Ball Will Pop Out Next

If he's not sure, how the heck will the Poms know?

22/11/2017 3:00 PM AEDT | Updated 22/11/2017 3:06 PM AEDT
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OK, so that was the leg cutter. Or maybe a bouncer. Whatever.

This might just be the summer of Pat Cummins. Or it might not. There are so many unknowns and unanswerable questions about Australia's pace spearhead this Ashes summer.

Just ask the man himself.

HuffPost Australia chatted to Cummins recently in the company of a few other reporters. Most questions revolved around the state of his body. Fair enough. Cummins, after all, has played just four Tests since his debut in South Africa exactly six years ago.

And what a debut it was. Seven wickets to help secure a narrow Aussie win. Then injuries struck. There were stress fractures in his back and an assortment of other ailments which kept Cummins out of a baggy green until mid 2017.

His body now?

"To be honest it's a bit of an unknown," Cummins admitted. "I've played back to back Tests now [in India and then Bangladesh] and felt pretty good, but five Tests in a row is pretty brutal. It's a bit of a shock to the body. We'll just have to see."

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Eat one of these pies, England .

Cummins, now 24, said he's now five or six kilos heavier than he was an 18-year-old tackling South Africa, and he feels stronger without losing any of the whippiness he had when he was young. Here's hoping his body stays strong. But what about his actual bowling?

Ah, now that's where our chat got interesting.

Recently in Bangladesh, Cummins thought he'd bowled a super quick spell followed by a spell of more or less average pace, only for Aussie captain Steve Smith to tell him that the second was definitely quicker.

So basically, we put it to him, you basically have no idea what's coming out of your hand.

"No, not really," Cummins answered with a grin.

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Here's to lots more of this.

"I mean you have a general idea. You try and run in fast on certain spells on certain days. But some days when you feel you're not bowling with too much effort, sometimes they're the fastest days because everything clicks."

All that sports science, Pat, and you're telling us that fast bowling is pretty much just a random artform and whatever pops out pops out?

"Yeah. Yeah exactly. I think, or I hope, that hopefully the more I bowl and the older I get hopefully I'll learn those nuances a bit more. But each tour and each series I play, I feel like I'm starting to know myself better and starting to find out how little I did know about myself before then."

So there you have it Australia. Pat Cummins -- a key part of our trio of quicks alongside Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc -- has next to no idea how fast the next ball is going to come out, nor perhaps where it will go.

We actually find that strangely reassuring in this overplanned world of ours. And we think the Poms might just find it quietly disconcerting.

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