Late bloomer at the ready
CRAIG Cumming wishes he knew when he was 20 what he does now.
At age 34, Cumming has just missed out on selection in the Queensland Country squad to contest the national country titles at Bundaberg from January 3.
He has been chosen as the shadow player should someone pull out. Cumming produced an all-round performance in last weekend's Country Cup at Allan Border field.
"I enjoyed it," Cumming said, despite his South Queenslanders going down narrowly to North Queensland.
"I got a few overs I didn't think I would. It was more than what I expected.
"I bowled pretty tight and hardly got scored off."
Cumming picked up a wicket which, along with his 25 with the bat, earned him recognition as Queensland Country's shadow player.
A squad of 13 has been picked for next month's tournament in Bundaberg. Cumming is 14th man.
"I'm stoked with that," he said.
"There were a few good all-rounders in the other side.
"So I was pretty pleased when (Ipswich selector) Darryl O'Sullivan said 'keep your bags packed just in case'."
Cumming has been told he will be first man picked should either a batter or bowler pull out of the squad, which is to be captained by Central Districts all-rounder Ben O'Connell and coached by Ipswich's Len Martin.
Cumming's representative honours have come late in his career.
He has only become a regular in the Ipswich Webb Shield team since passing 30 and this was his South Queensland debut.
"The standard was really good," Cumming said of the Country Cup clash.
"They had some real sharp bowlers compared to what we have in Ipswich. I've never faced anything like that before."
Cumming's only disappointment was the way he was dismissed, trying to lift a short ball over slips, only to feather it to the wicket-keeper.
"I hit a stupid shot to get out," he said. "At that stage we were in a little bit of trouble."
It continued Cumming's good form with the bat this season, though he feels it "could be better".
"I'd like to score a lot more runs," he said.
Cumming is taking a more cautious approach to his batting this season. "I'm not trying to rush it now," he said.
"I'm trying to spend more time at the crease and to be more smart about it. Not go for the big shot early.
Cumming is more equivocal about his bowling this season.
"I reckon it's probably the best I've been bowling, especially in rep cricket," he said.
The secret is the same as what he hopes to achieve more with his batting ... keep it tight.
"I've just got to bowl tight lines.
"Dot em up and dot em up and let them get themselves out.
"And don't get frustrated when you're getting hit around."
If only he'd known it 10 years ago.