Ian Chappell recently wrote about the uncanny resemblance between Pat Cummins and his former teammate Dennis Lillee. According to Chappell, Cummins is determined to get batters out and shares this quality with Lillee. However, this analogy is not accurate as Cummins surpasses Lillee as a fast bowler. Chappell cited Cummins’ dismissal of Babar Azam from Pakistan, likening it to Lillee’s dismissal of Alan Knott at the Oval in 1972. But the comparison falters because Azam is a leading batter, while Knott was a wicketkeeper/batter at number 7 in his day.
Cummins’ approach to the game differs significantly from Lillee’s. Cummins entered Test cricket as a teenager and overcame a five-year injury layoff, whereas Lillee did not face the same challenges. Both have comparable records in terms of taking wickets, but the conditions in which they played varied. Lillee played in an era with home umpires and no Decision Review System (DRS), which may have influenced some dismissals. On the other hand, Cummins operates in an age of neutral umpires and DRS. Cummins has also proven his capabilities in different conditions, having achieved success in Asian conditions against strong teams.
In addition, there are factual and ethical differences between the two as well. Lillee’s behavior on and off the field has been questioned, while Cummins is regarded as a model of integrity, clean living, and politeness. Cummins has also led the Australian team to significant victories, displaying his leadership and team-building skills, which Lillee did not have the opportunity to do.
Considering all these aspects, Cummins has solidified his position as one of Australia’s greatest fast bowlers, surpassing Lillee in various domains.