Pat Cummins, the 23-year old fast bowler who is expected to return from a long injury lay-off during Australia A’s one-day series in August, is excited at finally having a “goal” again.
Cummins had suffered a stress fracture of the back that had ruled him out of 2015-16 season. He is hoping to use the matches against South Africa A, the National Performance Squad and a third international side as a spring board to make a comeback to international cricket.
“It’s really exciting to have a bit of a goal [after a] fairly frustrating summer,” he said. “I spent the last off-season with the Ashes squad and the ODI squad and the World Cup before that. I went from being full-time on tour to sitting at home, watching cricket. So it was pretty hard, but obviously it’s great now to have an upcoming tour.
“I’ve been back bowling, [the run-up is] just a couple of steps, but each week [it’s been] getting a little bit longer, so by the time the Aussie A series comes around I’ll be ready to go.”
Cummins has not played Test cricket since picking up a 6 for 40 on debut against South Africa in 2011. Injuries have prevented him from taking part in the Sheffield Shield for the past five years. Cricket Australia’s policy has been to keep Cummins for limited-overs cricket, but he has ambitions to play all forms of the game.
“Hopefully I get a bit of both [red and white ball-cricket] with Aussie A. Build up with that, then hopefully I can go on and play some ODIs and use that to get back to Test cricket, but I don’t know when,” he said. “I’d like to get back [to playing] everything, but initially [restricting myself to] white-ball [cricket] makes a bit more sense. You can either go higher intensity, but not bowling as much, or bowling more in red-ball games with maybe not as high an intensity.”
Cummins was also contemplating adjustments to his bowling action to maximise his speed without compromising his fitness. “I’ll probably try to change a few little things in my action. A few minor changes, but nothing too drastic. When I’m trying to bowl really fast I tend to get a big twist in my upper body, so instead of my arms going everywhere I want to try to make things a little bit tighter. Hopefully, if I get it right and feel the rhythm, I shouldn’t lose any pace and it [won’t] put as much stress on my back.”
Speaking about Cummins’ return, national selector Rod Marsh said, “Pat is tracking along nicely in his recovery from his long-term injury and we are hopeful he will be available for the one-day matches in this series. However, we will be guided by medical staff on his return.”