Cummins: KKR management still hopeful IPL will be on at some stage
“A couple more toys for the dog,” is what Pat Cummins had revealed, his then girlfriend (now fiance), Becky Boston, had asked for at the outset when he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 15.5 crore. It turns out though that Norman is still waiting for those new toys. And as Cummins revealed on Friday (April 3), his pet dog is content with “chasing sticks around”, or what he describes as a “very cheap toy”. In turn though, at least for now, the toy poodle has the big fast bowler to cuddle up to and run around with while Cummins waits to hear about the immediate future of IPL 2020. But unlike Norman with his toys, his best mate is hopeful of the league being “played at some stage” based on the conversations he’s been having with those responsible for making him the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history.
“They’re really just in a holding pattern. Everything is changing, literally every single day. So, the last I spoke to them, they said (they’re) still really confident and hopeful it’ll be on at some stage. Really looking, I guess, for some hope anywhere around the world, to show signs that things are easing, and a tournament can be played and be successful,” the 26-year-old premier fast bowler said.
“They obviously haven’t cancelled it or anything like that yet. But obviously it’s going to be pretty tight, I think the (Indian) travel ban is in place until April 14 so I don’t expect anything too soon to happen,” he added.
Cummins like everyone around Australia is in a state of self-imposed isolation, only stepping out of his home in Clovelly – a beach suburb in Sydney – either for exercise or for other essential reasons. He does, however, take time out to go to the acreage he owns south of Sydney, which houses a shack, half-a-dozen cows and plenty of space to run around.
“It’s very utilitarian. We’ve been out here for a couple of weeks, so it’s good – can still get outside and run around and potter around without seeing too many people and if anything feel like a little bit like we’re arm’s length away from everything that is going on at the moment,” he revealed.
In an ideal scenario, Cummins would have been in Kolkata currently preparing for his team’s first home game of the season (against Delhi Capitals) at the Eden Gardens. Instead he’s back home and on a “total” break from cricket. But he is in constant touch with the KKR staff and constantly receives “workout routines” from team trainer Chris Donaldson-who also works with the New Zealand cricket team.
“Everything has been put on hold for a little bit, but obviously trying to keep fit. As much for our mental sanity than anything else. But knowing that if we suddenly get the green light, we’ll be ready to go. Normally when we’re back home, we have to go to the gym every couple of days to lift weights and put on some muscle. Whereas here you’ve to be a bit more enterprising and come up with more ideas for sessions. There was a burpees challenge. There are lots of running sessions. We’ve literally got tens and tens of different sessions we can have a crack on at home. You’ve got some weights or no weights, push-ups, chin-ups,” he said.
For good measure, his Australian teammates also make sure they keep each other in check in terms of their fitness routines, if not give them a complex at times.
“JL sends through the odd video message just gloating about his 16km run he’s done that day. Davey Warner is turning his house into a three-storeyed gym. He’s always got videos of him doing gym sessions but there’s a bit of everything. It almost feels like the start of an off-season at the moment, albeit we’re all training by ourselves at home rather than going to the team gym,” he said.
Cummins is realistic about how long it might take for live cricket to return to the big stage and admits that the possibility of the IPL, the tour of Bangladesh and the trip to England for a handful of one-dayers going ahead is still up in the air. But he didn’t sound too much in favour of the IPL being held in place of the T20 World Cup at the end of the year, which was suggested to him based on some reports.
“It’s all a bit above my paygrade working out when tournaments are going to be played. The T20 World Cup is something we’ve spoken about for the best part of two or three years. The ODI World Cup in 2015, that was absolutely a career highlight for me and I wasn’t even playing in the final. I’d love to see that go ahead. That’s the big tournament this year for international cricket. I’d love for that to happen in a perfect world and if I was to be really greedy, I’d love for the IPL to happen as well,” he said.
“I guess the lucky thing is we have time on our hands here in Australia with cricket. The World Cup is still six months away, at least seven months away, and the big Indian tour is still 8-9 months away. So, lots of things can change,” he added.
It’s not just the fate of the IPL season that Cummins and a number of his fellow Aussie cricketers, who would ideally have been in India now, are waiting to hear about. They’re also waiting for their annual contracts, which have been put off by two weeks by Cricket Australia amidst the coronavirus-induced mayhem. And Cummins insisted that the Australian team would have no issues with any sort of pay-cuts that the current crisis might lead to, that they were here to share both the upside and downside of Australian cricket.
“It was three years ago that in our MOU negotiations players wanted to make it clear that we wanted to be partners in the game and sharing in the upsides and exactly the same as in moments like these. We’ll take some of that pain if things don’t quite go right. So yeah just wait back and see. Yeah kind of emphasize that we’re all in this together, the players, Cricket Australia and everyone in Australia,” he said.
The multi-million-dollar paycheque aside, Cummins is also very eager for the IPL to start at some stage during the year for his own development as a white-ball bowler. The No.1 Test bowler in the world admitted that he was still working on the “death bowling and variations” aspect of his bowling in the shorter formats, especially in subcontinental conditions.
“The thing about the IPL is just the amount of games. Especially T20, out of those 14 games you’re probably in a match-winning or losing position close to 10 times. A good over can win you a match and a bad over can really cost you. Just those things on performing under pressure in front of big crowds. Also just having Indian teammates in your IPL side, they know those conditions so well, they know what other players are trying to do. Just the way they speak about it I find it really fast tracks your knowledge and your skill level. Added to that the best overseas players around the world – you’ve got a team of 15 guys who all have a lot to offer and you can play 14 games in seven weeks,” he explained.
For now though, Cummins can only continue to train and keep in touch with the KKR management, not to forget watch Norman chase sticks around, with the hope that the IPL season does get a go-ahead at some stage.