Pat Cummins has reportedly decided against returning for the remainder of IPL 2021. While no reason has been specified, it could be because of the hectic international schedule after the tournament.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that Pat Cummins' absence might not be too big a loss for KKR if Lockie Ferguson is available, as the latter is arguably a better T20 bowler.
"KKR already have Lockie Ferguson. And in my opinion, if you have to pick one of them just as a T20 bowler, I will pick Lockie Ferguson ahead of him (Cummins). If Lockie is available and plays, it is absolutely fine. I don't think they are going to miss Pat Cummins the bowler," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator reasoned that Pat Cummins' bowling numbers have been average over the last two seasons of the IPL.
"His (Cummins') performance has not been great as a bowler. If we talk about last year, he took just 12 wickets in 14 matches, and that was in the UAE, where the remaining matches will be played. The economy was okay, less than eight. This year also, he took only nine wickets in seven matches, and he was more expensive as well, almost nine runs per over," observed Chopra.
However, Aakash Chopra did acknowledge that Pat Cummins has made his presence felt as a batsman, an area where Ferguson might not be able to contribute much.
"As a batsman, his performance has been decent. It was not that good in the UAE; he did hit a fifty but had an average of twenty. This time he has hit a fifty, but the average is 31, and he has a strike rate of 166," added Chopra.
Pat Cummins' decision to opt out of the remainder of IPL 2021, despite the huge bucks he would lose out on, might trigger a series of withdrawals from the tournament. That could especially be the case with the Australian and English all-format players, as the T20 World Cup and the Ashes are close on the heels of the prestigious league.
Aakash Chopra on Pat Cummins' possible replacement at KKR
Aakash Chopra named Mark Wood as the likely candidate to replace Pat Cummins in the KKR line-up, saying:
"It could be Mark Wood. He is up there in my mind. He bowls very well; last time he had made himself unavailable, but if this time he makes himself available, then Mark Wood will be my option for the Kolkata Knight Riders."
Mark Wood had originally withdrawn from IPL 2021 to manage his workload. With the T20 World Cup and the Ashes scheduled to be played just after the IPL, it is highly unlikely the injury-prone pacer will make himself available this time around as well.
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