Pat Cummins could make a comeback to the Australian cricket team if he goes on to play the third Test match against India at Ranchi which begins on March 16. Handed a Test recall faster than he had expected, the pacer said it would feel like a second debut when he takes the field against India in the ongoing Test series. Cummins stands a good chance of playing his first game in more than five years, having been drafted into the side as injured Mitchell Starc's replacement.
"In some ways it does (feel like a second debut). To be honest, it's not very fresh. It feels like so much has happened in those five or six years. But I think since that day this is easily the most prepared I have been for a Test match in terms of body, form and the length that I have been playing the last few months," Cummins told the Australian media in Ranchi on Tuesday in his first interaction since arrival.
"So, in some ways it feels like my first game. But being part of the Aussie squad with ODIs and T20s, it is a pretty familiar surrounding."
Cummins, who has not played a Test since making a dream debut against South Africa in 2011, said the Test recall has come faster than he thought.
"I knew I was on standby for the tour a couple of months ago but really I thought the bowlers weren't going to bowl too many overs so hoped they weren't going to be injured or anything like that. So yeah, I hadn't really thought about coming over at all," he said.
"I think for a couple of months, I knew I was going to be in with a chance; I had to sort out visas and everything like that a couple of months ago. So, I think it was always kind of part of a plan, along with playing a couple of Shield games.
"But I think over here they're not great, bowler-friendly wickets for quicks, which actually means I won't bowl too many overs. So from that point of view it was always going to be a plan that was pretty comfortable along with playing some Shield games," said the injury prone pacer.
Filling Starc's shoes will be a big ask for him, in case he is picked ahead of reserve Jackson Bird in the third Test, starting here tomorrow.
Cummins, who is now 23, thought he would get to wear the baggy green against England in the Ashes next summer.
"I'd set myself little steps of getting back into the one-day side, and from that hopefully getting back into the Test side. But I didn't think it was going to happen this quickly. I'd always had an eye on the Ashes next year, just thinking that I had to play three or four Shield games to put my hand up for selection. It has certainly come a lot quicker, but I always thought I'd get back here."
Cummins watched the first two Tests from home and now finds himself in the middle of a high intensity battle. He is excited to contribute to the team's cause.
"Being at home for the first two Tests, I really appreciated how much passion is in this tour and how much Test cricket means. A big Indian tour like this can really identify a team and Steve Smith's captaincy. I've just been pumped up watching it at home and to be over and potentially being part of the series is really cool," he said.
"India is a tour that really brings the team and the squad together, it doesn't feel like a tour where there are one or two stand-outs. Everyone in the eleven needs to contribute. Winning over here is just one of those things that can bring a team together. And bring them together for the next 10 years or so," Cummins added.
(With inputs from PTI)