The 17-year-old has taken 11 wickets in five KFC Twenty20 Big Bash matches this season after NSW invested in youth when a spate of injuries decimated their fast bowling stocks.
His best performance came last Tuesday when Patrick Cummins destroyed Tasmania in the preliminary final to ensure that as a finalist, NSW would again share in the riches of the Champions League, if its Indian administrators can find the money.
This just months after forcing his way into the first XI of his grade club Penrith.
During a superb spell in Hobart, where he clocked 146km/h, Cummins claimed 4-16 as NSW marched to an easy nine-wicket victory.
Tait, Australia’s fastest bowler, says he was impressed.
“For a young bloke to be bowling in the mid-140s, it’s a pretty decent effort,” Tait said.
“That’s as quick as it gets for a kid that age. Even a bloke 28-29, in his prime, to bowl that quick is quite an achievement.
Speaking ahead of Australia’s one-day match against England in Perth, fellows Blues paceman Lee said bowlers like Cummins bring fans through the gates.
“Fans get excited seeing players bowl over 150km/h, and batsmen trying to hook them over the fence,” Lee said.
“It’s hard these days because a lot of wickets aren’t conducive to fast bowling, but a guy coming into the mix like Cummins, who is only 17, people tune in more.”
Injuries to Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Mark Cameron, Burt Cockley and more recently captain Stuart Clark and the international commitments of Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger, saw the Blues turn their attention to Cummins.
In his first match, against Tasmania last month, he claimed 3-29.
Cummins is still coming to terms with his rapid elevation.
“I was just happy to get the opportunity to play one game, but to play in five and get to a final, it is unreal,” Cummins said.
“Winning a couple of games has been good, but being able to contribute has been even better and hard to believe.”
While Cummins has been exceptional, Clark, the former Australia paceman, warned about expecting too much too soon.
“I’ve said to the coaches to just let him go. He is doing well and there is not much more we can say to him at the moment,” Clark said.
“Just watching the way he bowls and the way he goes about his cricket, it is not really a surprise to me what he has achieved.
“But the biggest thing we have to take into consideration is that he is 17. We don’t want to play him in every game and then find in three weeks’ time he is injured and out for six months.”
Clark said the NSW coaching staff would take heed of the problems experienced by Starc and Hazlewood this year when dealing with Cummins.
Hazlewood has missed most of this season with a back problem and Starc is sidelined with a side strain. And Clark believes lessons can be learned.
“There is perhaps a case of too much cricket at a young age for players, who then all of a sudden are not doing a lot, then bowling a heap,” Clark said.
“We need to be careful we don’t burn Pat out, as the risk would be high. The workload of going from four overs to bowling 40 overs a week in Shield cricket is very different.”
by Buford Balony