Gillespie backs Cummins to be Australia's x-factor in Ranchi Test

11 days ago | 14-03-2017 | ANI

Melbourne [Australia], Mar. 14 : Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie feels that Steve Smith has nothing to lose by including Pat Cummins in the playing XI for the crucial third Test of the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy against India beginning March 16 in Ranchi.

Cummins has been included in the squad in place of Mitchell Starc who was ruled out of the remaining Tests after suffering a stress fracture.

The left-arm pacer had picked up a stress fracture in his right foot during the second Test in Bengaluru, which Australia lost by 75 runs.

Cummins, if included in the Ranchi game, will play for the first time since his memorable debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011. In that match, he took seven wickets.

"I don't see what Australia have got to lose by playing him," Gillespie was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

"He's that point of difference and it could be similar to the Josh Hazlewood-Mitchell Starc combination. They complement each other well and if Cummins does get the nod, he could be the x-factor much like Mitchell Starc is."

"The selectors aren't taking him over there for work experience. They've flown him over to play. I can't see them taking him over just to carry the drinks," he added.

The former pacer said that if Australia want long spells, they might include Jackson Bird.

"If they need someone to bowl long spells on flat wickets, they've got Jackson Bird over there who could do that role," he said.

However, Gillespie maintained that Cummins is at least 10 km/hr quicker than Bird and that's the difference between the two.

"But I think on those pretty benign wickets, the point of difference for Pat compared to Jackson Bird is that he bowls consistently 10 kilometres-an-hour quicker. I think Jackson Bird would do a commendable job, but I think the selectors will go with Pat," he said.

"It's the extra pace that I think could potentially unsettle the Indian batsman."

The third Test in Ranchi begins on Thursday with the four-match series locked at 1-1.