Aussies face puzzle over how to protect prized asset
India might be paying Pat Cummins $2.2 million, but Australia will make sure they give their two cents worth before handing the superstar over to the IPL.
Cummins will sit down with Australian chiefs Justin Langer and Aaron Finch as well as medical staff after this series against South Africa and map out a plan for how his body is best managed over the coming months with so much cricket to be played this year.
Those ongoing discussions will include continuing to loop in Cummins' Kolkata Knight Riders coach Brendon McCullum, a man who is sensitive to the balancing act of utilising the prized international talent he will have at his disposal.
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McCullum is a close friend of one of Langer's most trusted confidants, Ricky Ponting, a source of comfort for the Australians who like to have strong lines of communication with IPL franchises, particularly those paying their most precious commodities.
Cummins is set to be named Australia's No.1 contracted player for a second straight year next month and CA may look at potential bursts in the international calendar against New Zealand and South Africa where he could be given the odd rest.
"I think we're going to just see how we go," said Cummins.
"Get through this tour and then map out a plan after that.
"Obviously it'll be a big winter, lots of back to back cricket. We'll speak about managing me and a couple of the other quicks throughout, but at the moment, no, I'm happy to play.
"The good thing is a lot of it is white ball cricket, which is a bit easier (physically) than Test matches.
"I feel really good. I had three weeks off leading into this tour, but we'll sit down with JL and Finchy and the physios.
"My body is loving only bowling four overs … so at the moment it's all going to plan."
Cummins has become the highest paid international signing in the history of the IPL with his staggering multi-million dollar deal, but the 26-year-old denies that figure puts any extra on him to deliver.
"In terms of added pressure, I don't think so. You've got a lot of pressure on wherever you play," he said.
"In India you're going to have 100,000 people cheering for you or against you, whatever your contract is."
Meanwhile, Cummins and the Australian men's team have been keeping a close on their female counterparts' World Cup campaign - with the whole squad watching the Southern Stars fightback win over Sri Lanka on the team bus, riding them all the way from early trouble at 3-10 in their chase.
Cummins was part of the men's squad that overcame the pressures of hosting the 50-over World Cup in 2015 to lift the trophy at the MCG.
The Australian women's early wobbles would suggest they're finding the expectation on them a challenge, and Cummins says the best thing they can do is try and weaponise it into an advantage.
"Yeah it's a funny one. I think that game we lost against New Zealand over at Eden Park (during the 2015 World Cup) was a bit of a reset moment for us," said Cummins.
"It was good in a way to be knocked down a peg and think we're not going to just turn up and win this tournament.
"I think home support, yes it might come with added pressure, but you've seen the 2011 World Cup India won at home, we won a home World Cup and now England have won a home World Cup.
"I think it's an advantage, you've just got to embrace it. You might get a couple of detractors, but most of the 25 million Aussies are right behind you and you've just got to look at it like that."