Cummins soars to new heights in player rankings
PAT Cummins' star continues to rise after his one-man show at the MCG with both bat and ball.
The fast bowler took 9-99 in the third Test against India on a lifeless track - including six wickets in the second innings that featured a blistering four-wicket spell late on day three - and posted the Aussies' only half-century of the match, scoring 63 in the final innings.
The sensational effort has shot the 25-year-old up the ICC rankings in the bowling and all-rounder categories.
According to the updated rankings, Cummins is the third best five-day bowler in the world behind only England's James Anderson and South Africa's Kagiso Rabada.
He's also the only Australian in the top 10, with both Nathan Lyon (11th) and Josh Hazlewood (14th) slipping.
With 80 scalps from his 17 Tests, Cummins has the best average (23.25) and strike rate (49) of the bowling quartet to have been given the job against India this summer.
And in a sign of just how heavily the Aussies are relying on the New South Welshman, he's also been included as one of the world's best Test all-rounders. He sits seventh on a list topped by Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hassan, sandwiched between Ravichandran Ashwin in sixth and Moeen Ali in eighth.
In the midst of a batting crisis exposed by the absence of the banned Steve Smith and David Warner, the home side's willow wielders were embarrassed in Melbourne to be rolled for 151 in the first dig and 261 in the second.
They only got as many as they did in the final innings thanks to Cummins, Mitchell Starc (18) and Nathan Lyon (seven from 50 balls) - prompting calls for Cummins to be promoted up the order.
The speedster insists he's happy coming in at No.8, but as many pointed out during the Boxing Day Test, his willingness to play straight and treat each ball on its merits made him appear far more accomplished than many of his top-order comrades.
Starc is ranked ninth out of the world's all-rounders, which also puts him above Mitchell Marsh on the list - a damning indictment on the West Australian, who doesn't feature in the top 10.
The 27-year-old - who had a horror tour of the UAE and failed in both innings after being recalled to the Test team in Melbourne - has had only a marginally better batting record than Cummins while wearing the baggy green.
In 31 matches, Marsh averages 25.39 and has passed 50 five times, while Cummins averages 20.95 with two fifties in 17 Tests.
Starc's record with the bat is similar. He's scored nine half-centuries in 48 Tests and averages 20.98, suggesting both he and Cummins offer almost as much value with the bat as Marsh and give the team more with the ball.
Australia has drafted batting all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne into the squad for the Sydney Test, as many cricket commentators predict the axe will fall on the younger Marsh brother after a string of underwhelming performances with the bat that have put his Test career in jeopardy.
Coach Justin Langer admits nobody is banging the door down as he mulls how to fix both Australia's top six and a national batting crisis.
ICC TEST RANKINGS
1. Kagiso Rabada (SA) - 880 points
2. James Anderson (ENG) - 874
3. Pat Cummins (AUS) - 836
4. Vernon Philander (SA) - 817
5. Mohammad Abbas (PAK) - 813
6. Ravindra Jadeja (IND) - 796
7. Trent Boult (NZ) - 771
8. Ravi Ashwin (IND) - 770
9. Tim Southee (NZ) - 776
10. Jason Holder (WI) - 751
1. Shakib Al-Hasan (BAN) - 415
2. Jason Holder (WI) - 365
3. Ravi Jadeja (IND) - 364
4. Vernon Philander (SA) - 362
5. Ben Stokes (ENG) - 342
6. Ravi Ashwin (IND) - 327
7. Pat Cummins (AUS) - 307
8. Moeen Ali (ENG) - 292
9. Mitchell Starc (AUS) - 247
10. Chris Woakes (ENG) - 238