New Delhi: There seems practically nothing that Pat Cummins cannot achieve these days and his latest batting heroics in the Indian Premier League (IPL) only served to confirm that his Midas touch has not deserted him yet.
Teammates and opponents rubbed their eyes in disbelief on Wednesday as the Australia Test captain, a fast bowler by trade, belted a 14-ball half century for the Kolkata Knight Riders, the joint quickest in the history of the IPL.
Cummins’s 56 not out from 15 deliveries against Mumbai Indians in Pune launched scores of memes on social media and had the pundits purring.
Virender Sehwag called it “one of the most insane displays of clean hitting” he had seen, while his former India teammate Venkatesh Prasad said Cummins had made “world class Mumbai bowlers look like club bowlers”.
Cummins has enjoyed a fairytale run since helping Australia to their maiden Twenty20 World Cup triumph in UAE in November.
Later that month, he would be unveiled as Australia’s 47th Test captain after a ‘sexting’ scandal cost predecessor Tim Paine the job.
There was some disquiet about giving the job to a fast bowler but that proved short-lived. Cummins oversaw a 4-0 Ashes romp in his first series in charge and he arrived in India on the back of a 1-0 Test series triumph on Australia’s first tour of Pakistan for 24 years.
In both series, Cummins offered glimpses of his brand of captaincy with sporting declarations and a desire to lead from the front.
Despite missing the second Test in Adelaide, the right-arm quick was the highest wicket-taker in the Ashes series, and he shared the honour with teammate Nathan Lyon in Pakistan.
He has carried that form into India, dazzling in his first IPL match of the season against five-time champions Mumbai, the tournament’s most successful side.
Cummins was named Man of the Match after taking two wickets with the ball and smashing six sixes and four fours with the bat.
“I think I’m probably the most surprised bloke here,” he quipped.
There was some method to his madness, however, with Cummins attributing his knock to a conscious effort to attack the shorter boundaries.
“I’m usually batting in the death overs, I have a clear mind and I just try to clear the ropes,” he said. “I just tried to hit every ball for a four or a six.” On the flip side to his IPL knock, Cummins expects to get some flak from his Australia teammates about his batting in the longest form of the game, where he averages just 17.
“I’m sure I’ll get some messages about my Test match batting, where I can hardly get it off the square,” he added with a smile.