Australian captain Pat Cummins calls for calm in response to England chaos

Australia’s bowlers have been urged to stay composed in the face of England’s aggressive pursuit of the Ashes, with Pat Cummins adamant calmer heads will prevail.

Australia will wait until the toss to name its team for Friday’s first Test, after entering Thursday still undecided on which way to lean in one one of the toughest selection decisions in years.

It comes after Australia’s quicks enjoyed an extensive net session at Edgbaston on Wednesday, as they look to be the first team to consistently conquer England in the era of ‘Bazball’.

Fit-again quick Josh Hazlewood got through the session unscathed, sending down a probing spell in the nets to make his case for selection.

Cummins would not guarantee a place for any of the bowlers, as a squeeze looms between Hazlewood, Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc.

“It’s going to be tough,” Cummins said.

“Someone is going to miss out. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to go so we’ll see.

“Josh Hazlewood comes back into the fold. He looked like he got through that session fine. He should be on the selection table.”

Australia are expected to rotate between Boland, Hazlewood and Starc throughout the series, with Cummins eager to play all five Tests as captain.

But selection for the first Test looms as crucial for Australia’s hopes of winning an Ashes series in England for the first time since 2001.

Since 1998, only once has a team lost the first Test and rebounded to lift the urn – England in 2005.

There is a feeling that if Australia can land an early psychological blow, it could take the air out of the host’s batting.

In one year under coach Brendon McCullum, England has not lost a series and has won 11 of 13 matches it has played while undertaking the most prolonged aggressive approach in Test history.

Cummins has urged his men to stay calm and not deviate from the bowling plans that last week made them Test world champions.

“The more you get into the minutiae, you end up with a simplified plan, so that’s what we’re going to be hammering home,” Cummins said.

“Our best stuff is still our strongest suit.

“They’re a very good white-ball team England, but Test cricket’s different.

“The ball moves a little bit differently. You can’t always bat exactly like you would in a one-day game and that’s the strength of our bowling unit.

“If there’s anything in the wicket we’re going to find it. We’re going to be relentless in our areas.”

Cummins will also remind himself of the importance of remaining calm as captain.

The 30-year-old admitted there will likely be times across the series when he will have to take stock on the run, with England’s attacking nature potentially able to quickly move the game away from Australia.

“I’m sure there will be, over five Test matches,” Cummins said.

“There’s going to be some moments of tension for everyone, which is exciting.

“You talk about it, you hopefully have a plan A, plan B, plan C, and at times you just go on your gut.

“There’s going to be high-pressure moments, but you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but out there in the middle of it.”


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