Cummins delighted to be back
Persistent rain may have put a dampener on the one-day international between Ireland and Australia at Stormont but paceman Pat Cummins could hardly contain his excitement at being back involved in international cricket.
New South Wales bowler Cummins burst on to the scene last year, making his Test debut against South Africa and playing three one-day internationals versus the same opposition.
But a bone stress injury halted his progress and today’s abandoned match was his first appearance for Australia since returning to fitness.
He marked his comeback with the wicket of Paul Stirling - caught superbly at slip by Michael Clarke - and, while most players on each side were frustrated at a match that lasted just 10.4 overs before the heavens opened, Cummins was beaming.
“It’s brilliant to play again; we came here thinking there was not too much chance of playing so to get out there, even just for 11 overs, was good fun,” he said.
“It just felt good to be out there. It’s been about seven months or so for me so it’s great to play for Australia again; to come back and play for your country is something special.”
Cummins was particularly pleased to be sharing new-ball duties with veteran quick Brett Lee, who clean bowled Will Porterfield and Ed Joyce for ducks in the first over as the hosts slipped to 36 for three before the deluge.
“Myself and Brett have been talking about bowling together for about a year now and with the injury it just didn’t happen, so it was great to finally be down at the other end bowling,” he said.
“The first over was ridiculous. I’ve never seen a start to a game like that before. No one is better than him.
“He’s been the face of fast bowling in Australia for a while. He’s raw pace and he’s always been a great competitor. It’s hard not to look up to him as a kid.
“He’s everything a pace bowler growing up wants to be.”
Cummins had only a brief opportunity to throw his name forward for a starting place in the five-match NatWest Series against England next week and faces competition from the five other pacemen who form Australia's touring arsenal.
Lee, Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson are also vying for a place, but Cummins is at ease with the situation.
"We all get along really well," he said.
"We really wish each other the best even when we're not playing. It's great to be around this group and have healthy competition."
Porterfield was demonstrably less chipper after the match, with a golden duck and a missed opportunity to test his side against a world-class opponent to muse on.
He believes Ireland need to have more such chances if they are to improve.
“Obviously, it wasn’t ideal today and it put a bit of a dampener on things,” he said.
“From our point of view we want to get longer series. A one-off game is not ideal but we are grateful for getting them. We want to play the likes of Australia and the Test-playing nations as often as we can.
“They’re the games we want and we want longer series. It’s disappointing but it was nice to have the occasion as well.”