New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Australian Pat Cummins has found unanimous approval as the best speedster in world cricket after former cricketers Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar and Aakash Chopra picked him as their first choice among the top five present-day Test bowlers. Former Australia skipper Chappell has picked three Indians among his five.
Chappell’s list of five includes Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.
“Pat Cummins, for everything he contributes, I have to go with him [as first pick]. An example that I have to cite is the last Test [against India in January] at the Gabba when Australia produced that ridiculous tactic of bowling short for an hour. Starc was shocked to pieces. He had nothing to come back with. But somehow or the other Cummins still in that last hour, gave everything he had,” said Chappell.
“I had the good fortune to captain Dennis Lillee. Dennis was the last guy in our team who thought that victory was impossible. I put Pat Cummins in that category,” Chappell, who scored 5,345 runs in 75 Tests, said while explaining the reason behind picking Cummins in an espncricinfo.com video.
Chappell also praised Sharma. “Ishant’s record since the start of 2018 is extremely good,” reasoned the 77-year-old batsman.
The Australian said that James Anderson won’t fit in because he hasn’t been playing regularly. “If you narrow it down to best swing bowler, I’d say Anderson. But he hasn’t played a lot and missed a lot of cricket,” he said.
Chappell called India off-spinner Ashwin as a better bowler than Australia’s Nathan Lyon. “I think Ashwin is a better bowler than Nathan Lyon. Have a look at Nathan Lyon’s strike rate, you are talking in the 70s and I am going back to 2018,” he pointed out.
Since 2018, Lyon has taken 113 wickets in 27 Test matches with a strike rate of 72.5 and an average of 33.43. Although he has six five-wicket hauls, as many as four of them have come against two teams — India and New Zealand. His only 10-wicket haul has come against the Kiwis.
“I think runs get scored through the onside when he [Lyon] is bowling to the right-handers and that really just shouldn’t happen. Yes, he is a fine bowler but I think Ashwin is a better bowler,” Chappell said.
Manjrekar picked Jimmy Anderson, Josh Hazlewood, Jasprit Bumrah and Shami besides Cummins – all pacers.
“The reason why I don’t have a spinner is because spinners don’t play enough. I am looking at the last two-three years. No point going back five-10 years. That is where Ashwin has got all these wickets. He has missed nine-10 overseas matches — not enough for me to be applying that very important principle, his performance out of his comfort zone,” said Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs.
Former India opener Chopra, who played 10 Tests, picked Ashwin along with Cummins, Neil Wagner, Bumrah and Josh Hazlewood. “Ashwin grew in stature on tour of Australia,” said Chopra.
“I picked Wagner because he exposed frailties of modern-day batting. [As for] Bumrah, he is there like Cummins, picks wickets but if he had played a bit more cricket in sub-continent that would have pushed his case a bit more,” he said, probably referring to Chappell’s list that didn’t have him.