‘I had a clear goal but right now it’s kind of changed’

PATRICK CUMMINS admitted on Wednesday night his immediate playing future was ”up in the air” after he was sent to have scans on a possible back injury that may threaten to, yet again, sideline the talented teenager during Australia’s Test summer.
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The 19-year-old had scans after reporting soreness upon his return from South Africa, where he played a key part in the Sydney Sixers’ Champions League Twenty20 triumph. Cummins was not chosen in Australia’s squad of 12 for the first Test against the Proteas in Brisbane next week but with selectors looking at including him for the third Test in Perth the last thing they want is for the young speedster to become injured again.

”The scans aren’t too conclusive at the moment,” Cummins said. ”We’ll know more in the next couple of days … at this stage it is still up in the air … I’ll go and see the physio but I think we’ll know more by Friday.

”I had a pretty clear goal for the season this morning, but right now it’s kind of changed and I’m not sure now, but I want to play some red-ball cricket. I haven’t done that for a while and I’m really keen for it.”

Cummins was absent throughout Australia’s campaigns against New Zealand and India at home last season after acquiring a heel injury during his remarkable debut Test in Johannesburg.

He has not played a first-class game since, and had been keen to make a long-awaited return for NSW next Monday as a substitute in the Sheffield Shield encounter against Queensland in Brisbane. The Blues’ four Test players are due to miss the fourth day to link up with the national team, and NSW will replace them with reinforcements if the match goes that long. Almost certainly, Cummins will now not be one of them.

”Pat came back from Champions League T20 with some back soreness,” a Cricket Australia spokesperson said. ”He had preliminary scans today and is due to have further investigations over the next few days to establish a diagnosis.”

Cummins has been beset by injury in the past year just as his international career has taken off. The Penrith product was flown home from Australia’s one-day tour of England in June after sustaining a side strain in the first match at Lord’s. Cummins later returned to feature in the limited-overs series against Pakistan, and then the World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka, before helping bowl the Sixers to victory in Johannesburg this week.

Australia’s crew of international fast bowlers – Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc – are otherwise fit and healthy, but it would be a blow to lose Cummins.

”It’s a shame really,” said fast bowling great Glenn McGrath, who was inducted as a Bradman Foundation honouree, as was retired Indian batting star Rahul Dravid, at a gala dinner in Sydney on Wednesday night.

”He started off his Test career so well and I was watching him in the T20 World Cup – he looked so impressive. He was thinking on his feet, he had good slower balls, good pace, he was hitting good areas. If there are issues with his back again, it’s going to be disappointing. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad. He’s got huge potential, it would be a shame for him not to realise it.”

McGrath, however, agreed that Cummins would take time to grow into his body and, even in the event of another injury, had time on his side.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.