Cummins reveals why Travis Head made the cut

1 month ago 16
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New Australian Test captain Pat Cummins conceded there was probably about two dozen players he would have happily picked for the first Ashes Test, before unveiling his first line-up as skipper.

The No.5 position had been the one source of mystery in Australia's line-up ahead of the opening Test, with Travis Head and Usman Khawaja the two players contending for the role, before Head was confirmed as the starter.

While Head was dropped after last year's Boxing Day Test against India, he has found form at the domestic level since, with a Shield century last week enough to secure his spot.

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"Trav's been a big player for our team over the last few years - he didn't play here last year, he missed out on the final game of the summer and he kind of got asked by the selectors to go away, work on his game," Cummins said.

The skipper said Khawaja's experience was invaluable to the squad but that Head had earned his spot.

"He's gone over to England, he's churned out runs for South Australia, so he's ready to go."

Opposing captains Pat Cummins and Joe Root at the Gabba on Sunday. (Getty)

Cummins shared the stage with counterpart Joe Root ahead of Wednesday's day one - and said that his new role hadn't fully sunk in yet.

"When we walk out here on day one and see a packed house, and see all the TV cameras and the start of the summer feels like it's here, I think that's when it will hit me," Cummins said.

He also defended the inclusion of Mitchell Starc in the XI, saying his body of work spoke for itself, labelling a lot of the criticism towards his fellow quick as unfair.

"Probably the last ten years is enough to go on," he said when asked what it was that had stood out in regards to Starc's selection.

"Just an incredible player, bowler. I think strike rate under 50 in Test cricket, that doesn't come around too often. So I think when you look at his record, what he brings to the team, he's right up there with one of the best bowlers we've had for Australian cricket.

"We back him fully."

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